Sunday, June 18, 2017

DAY 1902... The Compassion Experience

Spencer and I have been searching for ways to teach our children about how lucky they are.
It's really not an easy thing to do.

In the past we have donated toys and clothes and food to people in need,
and even though we would take the time to explain completely to Aniston what we were doing and why,
she never really seemed to understand completely.

The world that we live in is so comfortable,
full of fulfilled wants, 
and filled with so much excess.
Do we really need 20+ pairs of shoes?
Do we really need 3 flat screen TV's?
Do we really need more than 1 swimsuit?
Do we really need a room full of toys?
we really don't.
We are so blessed to live in the world we live in and to have what we have.

I remember when I was younger,
my parents would take us to Tijuana to help us understand how blessed we really were.
I remember my little sister would always save up her money so that she could buy an entire pack of chiclets from the small child that would always be selling them to make money for her family at the border.
It always broke our hearts to see these children working on their feet and begging for people to buy whatever they were selling.

But regardless of how we felt at the time of our visit,
that feeling of compassion would eventually wear off and we would become greedy and forget about how fortunate we really are.

I didn't really understand the entire experience of compassion as a child.
I didn't always grow up with money.
I remember being really young and my crayons were my favorite toys.
We would put them into families and play with them all day long.
But my Dad worked hard and changed our situation and we lived comfortably in a blessed life.
I took a lot for granted.
I think we all do at times.

Do we remember while we are drinking water that many countries and people do not have clean drinking water?
Do we remember while we are throwing out food uneaten after dinner that there are millions of people and children going to bed hungry?
Do we remember when we are sitting inside our cool homes in the heat of the summer that there are millions of people without A/C who live in much hotter locations?

So when I read on Facebook about The Compassion Experience,
I knew that that was an experience I wanted Aniston to have.

I didn't think Benson would understand it at all,
because he can't even understand the word "no" these days (mega eye roll),
but I was hoping that it wouldn't be totally lost on Ani.

It was free and took place at a church,
so I thought that it was the perfect Sunday activity for our family.

As you stood in line waiting to get in,
there were a lot of facts and information about poverty and how it effects the world today.

We had the choice to choose between 2 experiences,
but we left it up to the universe to choose our story and we ended up going through Sameson's story.
We put on headphones that connected to an iPod and waited for our experience to start.

As you walked through different rooms,
different parts of Sameson's story played.
We learned about him from a young age,
when he was abandoned by both parents,
through his school age,
where he didn't pass his exams,
to his present day,
where he was encouraged by a sponsor to pursue his dreams and to follow his heart,
and now he teaches young children how to build with wood.

As you walked through the different rooms you got a good sense of the quality of life that Sameson had. 
You saw his home and what he would eat and where he would eat.

We saw where he would attend school,
and we saw his wood shop. 

We took a small amount of extra time in each room to explain to Aniston what she was seeing and what was happening.

The biggest impact that effected her was that he was abandoned when he was 3 and what he ate.
When she saw the food she wasn't quiet about how "yucky" it looked.
Another thing she pointed out was that he only had 1 toy.
We talked with a representative afterwards and he told us how they had the actual people walk through the exhibits and make sure that they were correct and accurately portrayed their life. 
So for Aniston,
the thought of only having 1 toy was shocking to her.
The idea that he had no money was shocking to her.

When you finished the story you entered a room with tons of pictures of different children all across the world who were looking for a sponsor. 
These are children that can't afford to eat or attend school.

Spencer and I have often talked about how much we have and how blessed we are,
especially our children,
but we had never really talked about sponsoring a child in another country to have their basic needs filled.
I wasn't really surprised,
but it was nice when we both said that that was something that we wanted to do.

So what if we don't eat out for 1 meal a month?
It only costs $28 a month to sponsor a child.
for our family,
is less than eating out for 1 meal.
That is less than it cost to see a movie basically.
That is such a small sacrifice on our part to be able to provide for a child in need.

I have been actively searching the past several days for opportunities to teach Aniston more about compassion and love and service.
If I can do my part as a parent right and avoid enabling her with that sense of entitlement that makes me crazy,
then I will.

I feel a HUGE responsibility as a parent to raise my children to be productive members of society and to make sure that they understand that hard work can pay off,
but that there will always be someone less fortunate than them that they can reach out to and help,
even if that means making small sacrifices on our part.

If you have the chance to attend The Compassion Experience,
DO IT!!!
It was so humbling and touching and such an amazing opportunity to remember our blessings,
and to remember how we can help others.

Click HERE to read more about The Compassion Experience. 

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