The Shark Mech Slingshot and Other Good Causes

Ax is turning seven and has become aware of the desirability of stuff.  He has an insatiable longing for more and more lego, a longing that I find ... unsettling, particularly when so many children have so little, showering him with bits of pricey plastic without at least acknowledging the disparities and doing something to correct them seems ... just ... wrong.  So we talked to Ax about how lucky we are to have a home and all the food we want and clean water to drink.  We talked to him about how lucky we are to have what we have, and that part of what comes with that good fortune is the ability to help people and causes in need.

Was he interested in giving gifts to others for his birthday?  Yes he was.  Mike and I sat down with him and the laptop and showed him the websites of a few of our favorite charities — Seva which helps people see, Heifer which helps people have food, EDF which keeps our food and planet safe, Direct Relief which helps in crises, Raices which helps kids separated from their families, and the ACLU which fights for laws and justice in every area.  

We mentioned the people trying to come here for a better life and getting separated from their kids.  We didn’t want to scare him but we mentioned it.  He heard it and he picked his charity.  We signed him up as a monthly donor and explained he’d be giving to this organization instead of a raise on his allowance.  He agreed.

I felt so proud of him that he paid so much attention to all of these issues.  I felt proud of us as parents that we did not guilt him for wanting stuff, but also expanded the conversation of what does it mean to have more than we need?  It means we get to give.  

And we still get to get.  The next day a mom asked what he wanted and I gave her the lego and donation options.  She said she understood but was gonna go with the lego.

I’m gonna keep going.