A few weeks ago, in an attempt to explain to Mal how lucky he was compared to many people in other parts of the world, we showed him some news clips on China earthquake and Burma cyclone Nargis. We were hesitant at first, not sure whether the ‘real world’ might be too much for our 4 year old. We went ahead, censoring some of the more gruesome pictures and clips, taking the bet that he should be able to handle the reality.
At 4 years old, Mal learned about natural disasters through books and during our road trips to National Parks and different parts of US. He is familiar with earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunami and tornadoes but it is the first time that natural disasters happened so close and so recent. As he watched the news, we answered his WHYs and HOWs and soon derived at how we could help.
We struck a deal.
For every token in his Big Boy Bag, he could exchange for a dollar which would be donated to the Singapore Red Cross Society to help the Chinese or Burmese victims.
He counted his tokens for the week, there were 20, which means he could have 2 small treats or 1 big treat all to himself.
After some discussion, albeit reluctantly, he parted with 10 tokens and accepted a small treat with his remaining 10 tokens.
That was his first donation to charity.
5 dollars to China earthquake victims
5 dollars to Burma cyclone victims
The following week, he counted 20 tokens again. This time, almost instantly without hesitation he chirped .
‘Mummy, I want to give 10 tokens to the people in China and 10 tokens to the people in Burma’
Both Daddy and I were taken aback. It was only the 2nd week and Mal seemed to have internalized our teachings.
He had chosen to give up his treats.
Everything for the people he had never met and Nothing for himself
I was moved beyond words and caught a glimpse of shimmering wetness in Daddy’s eyes.
It was a feat. We both know that we may never have given so generously.