Making My Children into Servant Leaders

How ‘monthly missions’ projects are helping my children recognize their own rich American life is not the norm, nor should it be

Every Sunday morning, my husband and I strap the kids in the car, drive to the front of our neighborhood, and take a little path through the woods to the charter school where our church meets. Every week, my kids spend time in the kids' room at my CrossFit gym three minutes from my house. We can be to my mom's, my brother's, my aunt's, or my in-law's house in less than 20 minutes, and we don't have to drive more than 10 minutes to the library or a brand spankin' new outlet mall.

Our entire world is a small little bubble that we rarely leave. This can be a little dangerous for my kids. It's hard for them to fathom life outside of what they know. They assume every child lives like them: has been to Disney World multiple times, paws through shelves upon shelves of books, and can fill a glass of water from the fridge whenever they want. They barely understand race differences and unemployment in America, much less starving children and human trafficking around the world.

But you know what? I want them to know about it.

I want them to feel compassion and empathy for those who need support.

I want their first response to be, "I can do something about that!"

I want my children to recognize their own rich American life is not the norm, nor should it be.

We sponsor children in Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic to help them connect with kids different from them, but last Thanksgiving, I wanted to do more. I felt like my kids could and should do some hard things.

So I started a not-very-creatively-named idea called "monthly missions."

Changing the world, one month at a time

Each month I introduce my kids to an organization doing big things around the world. We read up on them, watch (appropriate) YouTube videos about their work, then brainstorm ways to support them.

My kids are only seven and almost five, so it's not like they can host a carwash and explain the intricacies of sex trafficking to a potential donor. We've had to get creative, and with each passing month, my kids surprise me with their enthusiasm and compassion for each organization. Over the past 12 months, we have:

  • Sold lemonade to raise money to buy fruit trees for World Vision farmers
  • Collected nickels to buy mosquito nets for Ugandan orphanages with Sweet Sleep
  • Collected paper to help Paper for Water build wells in India
  • Had a rock-a-thon to raise money to help Unbound rescue girls involved in sex trafficking
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