Wednesday, December 16, 2015

We are different

Some times we are privy to the most unusual and yet wonderful conversations.  I am about the share one of those wonderful conversations with you.  

Yesterday at lunch one of our children asked Ms. Yvonne why her skin was brown?

It went like this,

Child, "why do you have brown skin?"

Ms.Yvonne,  "because I was born this way, why do you have white skin?"

Child,  "because I'm eating to many white crackers at home"

I can not even begin to tell you how sweet that was or how much we laughed quietly between ourselves.  Out of the mouths of babes literally.  How much do you love that?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's Natural to Give

 Please note* We would never publish pictures our of children without permission from our parents.  For this blog post, Eko's mom gave us her permission to share her photos.   Thank you Amanda.

 I am long over due in getting to this post.  There is so much to do and so many more things we are trying to do with our children before we break for the holidays!

Today, I wanted to highlight a project that is near and dear to my heart.  It's called the Maple Tree Giving Tree Project.  Each year for the last 14 years we have made an effort to give back to our community as a community.  The idea is to talk with the children about need and hunger.  A very simple need such as food is an easy concept for children at a very young age to grasp and understand.  We are all hungry and need to eat.  What do we eat?  What do others eat?  Does everyone have food?  What's a perishable?  What's a non perishable?  These are all things we talk to our children about and they are things we tend to take for granted.  I decided many years ago that we need to teach our children about giving.  My husband Shawn and I have always instilled this in our own children.  It has moved from giving food in bags to handing out change to people in need.  Our daughter will actually insist that we keep money in the cup holder in our van so that we can give it away when we stop at intersections.  I am filled with pride and hope every time she asks and it's roots stem from the Giving Tree project.

So, we give the children a canvas bag to decorate with all manner of crafty goodness.  Anything goes when it comes to making the bag beautiful and special.  Then we ask our parents to take their children to the grocery store and fill the bag.  We ask that parents really let their child make the choices for the bag.  There is such power in this for the children.  Power to chose for others and be the one making it happen.

 This is my friend Eko doing the very thing we asked of him.  He is shopping and making choices all on his own for his Giving Tree Bag.  Like all of our children, Eko really embraced this project.  I got these pictures and the sweetest email from his mom on the weekend and it honestly made me so happy and I am sharing it with you.

The following is from Eko's Mom: 

I just wanted to share with you Eko's experience shopping for the Giving Tree today. I'm so incredibly proud of him. I honestly did NOTHING other than take pictures. He wanted to bring his own shopping cart even. 

I honestly thought we would go down one aisle and end up with 10 different kinds of crackers - but that wasn't the case. Eko made the most incredibly healthy, smart and balanced choices. It's like he was on a mission and he knew what he wanted to choose. He just kept saying, "I want to buy this for the children" and "the children will really like this!"

 I see pure Joy radiating in my friends face as he loads his groceries! 

Way to Go Eko!  You are Amazing and you are doing an wonderful thing!

As the bags make their way into Maple Tree we put them under the Giving Tree we made.   Nest week all the bags will be delivered to Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank.  Every year when we go and deliver the food we feel good about it and we are reminded how great that need is.  Thank you for helping us teach our children about giving and thank you for helping your children give.  It really does make a difference.