Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 7 of Giving that Gives Back: The Philippines

A many of you know, in the last couple of days, a monster typhoon has wreaked devastation on parts of the Philippines. The death toll is rising by the minute and news is heartbreaking. The typhoon is now headed for Vietnam where it could do even more extensive damage. It is hard for us to understand the magnitude of this kind of event in a developing nation. The death tolls are higher, the recovery is endlessly more difficult and many areas that are hit in an event like this never fully recover before another disaster strikes. The people live in an endless cycle of crisis, poverty and fear.

So today, why not stop where you are and think of a way you could intentionally scale back a bit this Christmas in order to be able to help in this disaster response. There are a number of reputable organizations already mobilizing their existing forces on the ground there to get food, water and shelter to the victims.

What if you skipped stocking stuffing this year for the chance to get a family into safe shelter? Or didn't give gifts to one another as a couple and instead helped provide meals to the victims? What if you offered your kids the chance choose something to forego in order to be able to help? Like a trip to the movies that might have been on the schedule or one gift they might have been expecting. In my experience, kids are simple and heroic in their responses when offered an opportunity to help the hurting. Let your kids' be heroes.So often, we try to shield our kids from the sacrifice necessary to make a difference. We don't want them to "suffer" for the choices we want to make. But you know what? I think if we really want to change the world, the direct impact most readily available to us is our kids. If we can give them the outlook that they have the power to bring hope to a hurting world rather than trying to shield them from it, we are going to launch young adults into this world with vision and passion for justice.

Ask them what they would do if they were in charge of the response. What are their ideas on how to help? You'll be surprised at how innovative and pragmatic they are. Then introduce them to organizations doing the things they have proposed. Ask them how they might support that work. Give them the chance to think big, hope long and be heroic.

It won't be hard for you to find a group to help in the response efforts. I'm sure many of your favorite organizations would be a very worthy choice. I am going to link a few here for those who might be unsure of how to help. These organizations are groups that are already established in the Philippines and have the infrastructure in place to respond immediately to the needs that have resulted from Typhoon Yolanda. That is the one thing I would look for in choosing an organization. You want someone who has the ability to respond immediately and then sustain long-term recovery.

Here a few groups I know meet those criteria:

Feed My Starving Children

Food For The Hungry

Caritas International

Let's see what we can do this weekend to slow ourselves down, model care and compassion to our kids, encourage them to see the needs of a broken and hurting world and respond to them. However you decide to respond, I encourage you to make it a conversation with your kids. Let yourselves be surprised and moved by their hearts for their brothers and sisters and their creative problem solving skills. Give them a change to show you their inner hero.

All posts in this 31 day series are linked here.

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