... and let them lead the way

Earlier this month, Fable came home from school with a slip of paper that included her own handwritten list of facts she had learned earlier that day about water and the places in the world without access. Her 1st grade teacher felt it important to involve her class in a charity, so she educated the children to educate their parents and collect money to purchase a well through charitywater.org, which is an INCREDIBLE non-profit. 100% of their donations go directly to water project costs. 

"It's for girls, Mom. Did you know that there are girls that can't go to school because they have to carry water for their villages? ISN'T THAT UNFAIR? Mom, we need to do something."

She was furious.

I was grateful.

In all of the years talking to my kids about getting involved -- about privilege and gratitude and contributing to help others who are not born with the basics that we have been blessed with -- this was the first time IT HIT HOME with Fable. I couldn't even get a word in, she had so much to say. So much she needed to tell me.
"Did you know that lack of clean water kills more people than all forms of violence, including war?"

"I don't think I -- "

"Did you know that in some villages girls have to walk 6 miles a day, 20 hours a week, to get water for their villages and can't go to school and the boys can go to school and they don't have to get the water!?"

"I didn't kno--"

"We need to raise $1200 so we can buy a well. Can you give money, Mama? HOW MUCH CAN WE GIVE!?"

My knee-jerk reaction was to PayPal what I could and thank her for speaking up with such an impassioned plea. But then I thought, wait... what would that do? I mean, giving money is GREAT for adults. But when a child is passionate about charity? Let her STAY passionate about charity.

And so I told her to do something about it. 

"You want change? You want to raise money? Do it, girl. Tell me how I can help you."

The longer I parent, the more I realize how capable all children are of DOING AMAZING THINGS with very little adult help. They write their own letters when an issue persists at school. They speak their own minds when they want to disagree. It isn't my job to speak for them so I don't.

My children (like all children) have voices and opinions and ideas. And it has always been my goal as their parent to give them the space to speak and listen with their own mouths and minds before coming to me for mine.

Will I go over their letters? If they want me to, yes. Will I help them with their homework? If they ask for my help, of course. Otherwise, they're on their own... ED: I don't know what the hell is going on half the time I have too many kids to keep track. But also? I believe the children are the future. Give them space and let them lead the way.

...And in keeping my distance, in "staying out of it,"  I have watched both Archer and Fable take the reigns both at school and at home. Because it isn't my life, you know? It isn't my classroom's charity and while I support my kids wholeheartedly, I also believe that they have far more power than I do to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. They deserve to take full responsibility for the work they do and the words they use and the homework they finish and the money they raise.

"What can you do to raise money?" I asked her.

She thought for a moment and then....

"I can make beautiful jewelry and sell it for $20 a piece!"

And that is what she did. And what she's doing... 
You can read my post in its entirety, here.