If there is one thing I want to model for my children, it's giving. In a society where consumerism dominates most of what we see and hear, I want to raise discerning consumers who take more pride in what they give, rather than what they get.
When it comes to charity, I have found that oftentimes giving money in support of something is the easy way out. Not that I would ever encourage someone to stop supporting something monetarily, as it is a fine way to be charitable. Instead, (or perhaps, in addition), I would rather do something, make something, that might benefit others in need.
In systematically cleaning out our home for our impending move, I have brought countless bags/boxes to the Goodwill and Salvation Army. Through our church, I have assisted with meals at homeless shelters. I try to find opportunities to give in ways that are more direct, in ways that might not always be the most comfortable, but ways that are surely (for me) more satisfying.
Awhile back, I found a group called Craft Hope that is made up of crafters looking for ways to help others through their crafts. It involves mostly sewing/knitting type crafts, so it was right up my alley. I hesitated initially, for many different reasons, but with this last project, I chose to dive right in. Bibs. How hard could that be?
Sometimes, I'm my own worst enemy. I searched and searched for the right bib patterns. Then it turned into a mental debate about whether to knit the bibs or sew the bibs. Did I have the right yarn? Did I have appropriate materials? Honestly, I can procrastinate at making a decision better than anyone I know. So I just made myself start.
I have quietly devoted a little time each day to creating these bibs. When my kids ask who they are for, I am happy to explain to them what I am doing. In this particular project, the bibs are meant to go to special needs orphanages in China. It has sparked many discussions about children in other parts of the world, how they live, and who they are. And when my kids show interest and compassion for these lives so different from their own, my heart swells with pride.
At the end of this project, I finished four bibs: a koala, seahorse, rabbit, and
chick, using patterns created by Elaine Fitzpatrick. I used some cotton yarn that I have had for a number of years, and the texture of the yarn makes the bibs soft and interesting to the touch. I was very pleased with how they turned out.
Someday I will include my kids in these types of projects....but for right now, the personal satisfaction and setting the example of giving is more than enough. I look forward to participating in more projects like this in the near future.