Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eight Cents

Last night we told the kids about the earthquake and prayed for Haiti before we went to bed. Bethany had a special connection with Haiti because she had collected a jar of spare change for them last year after learning they were the poorest country in the world. Today at lunch we prayed for them again, and I told the girls that Mommy and Daddy were going to give some money to help Haiti and that they were welcome to give some of their money too if that was something they felt like they wanted to do.

Both girls said right away that they did want to help, and made a dash for their piggy banks. They both came down with hands full of change. Harper handed me a handful of coins she had fished out from her impressive stash (she's quite the saver), and Bethany came down with several coins, all the money she had left (she's quite the spender). Harper gave me her contribution and Bethany pulled out 4 quarters and put them in my hand. “I want to give them a dollar,” she explained, and nodding to the nickel and three pennies that remained in her hand, “I'm going to keep this much.”

“Thank you,” I told her. “It's very generous of you.” Then she asked if we could take a trip to Haiti so we could see what was happening over there. I told her we couldn't, but that I could show her pictures on the computer. She wanted very much to see them, so we sat down on the couch and watched a news clip from NBC. The girls stared silently at the images of collapsed buildings, women crying, and streets full of injured people. “That's so sad...” Harper commented when it was over. “We need to give them the money NOW!”

“We can!” I said, signing onto the Food for the Hungry website. When I got to the space to type in the dollar amount, I started to add up the girls' donations and the grown-up donation.

“Wait.” Bethany said. Then she opened her hand and carefully set the other eight cents onto the laptop. “I want to give the rest.”

I smiled silently, drew her in for a hug and kissed her on the head, then adjusted the total to reflect the additional eight cents. Together, the girls pressed the “checkout now” button and the coins still warm from their hot little hands crossed the ocean and landed in the streets of Haiti. And my heart welled up with the hope that my little girls might learn from me the joy of giving sacrificially, and that I might learn the same from them.