Having recently adopted two fabulously wonderful children on one very average charity worker income, with no assistance, no free childcare and special needs which mean extra resources are needed, it can be challenging to think about how to help others. When you are working hard to set a budget and then struggling to get everything in, you can begin to let a small belief creep in, a belief that you aren’t in a place where you can help others. But sometimes I think we are so focused on “doing something big” or getting our own needs & wants met (particularly if people around us have more resources) that we forget it is the very small actions of giving that create seismic change. And that collectively, good is accomplished by lots of people taking one step.
In this season of life it is hard to feel that I’m giving sacrificially, though someone reminded me yesterday that adopting two older children with special needs requires constant “giving” of oneself. They didn’t say because of some misguided belief adopters are angels, they said it to remind me that giving isn’t just about what happens outside our home, but our everyday actions inside our home can demonstrate generosity and love too. And right now inside our home we are looking at how we can continue to give even in a season of greater needs and less resources.
And after lots of reflecting on the budget what we can do is:
- Continue our sponsorship of a crib through Butterfly Children’s Hospices (previously named ChinaKidz) – as readers know, I was a volunteer there summer 2010, an experience which changed my life and a place I know sponsorship means babies and children’s lives are saved.
- Use our food budget to buy some food each shop to give to the foodbank. We may not be able to spend as much as I’d like, but those few items each shop probably give one meal to a family, one meal they don’t need to worry about and that is good.
- When we do make a purchase, we can ensure it is fairtrade or ethically sourced. My daughter’s winter sweater is fairtrade, the food we buy as much as possible is fairtrade, we boycott companies which are unethical and buy small and local as much as possible
- We visit our local homeless people once a week and give what we can while spending time with them. This is always the highlight of the week for my daughter, whose generous spirit I will blog about soon!
- We pray for others every day
- We give away what we don’t need and/or have outgrown
- We soon will begin volunteering as a family
When I look at that list what I see is a few small lifestyle choices that let us give a little each month. But, as I’m trying to teach my children, it is little every day actions of being loving, giving and kind which is the most important thing. It isn’t about assuming others have money and are better equipped to solve the world’s problems, it is everyone making positive choices, little drops of love, that make the world a much move loving and kind place.
So on this Help A Family Friday, I just wanted to admit that to myself and others that it is OK when the help you can give is small; small acts change someone’s world.