Her grandkids get perspective instead of gifts


POSTED: Sunday, December 21, 2008

Three years ago at Halloween I tried to find the floor in my granddaughter's bedroom. I was standing on it, but it wasn't visible because it was covered with toys. Her closet was crammed with clothes. It was the same in my grandson's bedroom next door.

We sat down for dinner and there was plenty for everyone. Once again I realized what an embarrassment of riches we have. I am thankful my family and I have choices. Then my thoughts turned to others in the world who lack sufficient food, clean water, schooling and clothing. This will be the future for most of the kids in Third World countries and even in parts of the United States.

I felt helpless until the next day, when I received a mailing from Heifer International. I read through the brochure—Heifer buys farm animals and gives them to people in underdeveloped countries to help them become self-reliant.

Families in Sri Lanka receive flocks of chickens, providing food and money. Albanian families are recipients of beehives, and oxen to pull carts, plows are sent to Uganda, cows to Russian villages to provide milk and income. You get the idea.

So now, every year at Christmas, I send what I can afford to Heifer International. I receive a gift card explaining what my gift provided. When that card arrives I sit down and explain to my grandchildren why Grandma is not giving them more toys or clothes. I make it clear the money I would have spent on them is going to kids somewhere in the world in need of food and the ability to be self-reliant.

I do buy my kiddies a little something for under the tree, but they know that we have joined in making life better for families facing a bleak future. It's a wonderful feeling.

If giving to Heifer International sounds like something you would like to do for your kids or grandkids, or maybe just for you, call (800) 698-2511, visit the Web site or write P.O. Box 8058, Little Rock, AR 72203-8058.

An added benefit: The kids can now see their bedroom floors and there's room in the closets! And somewhere in the world, families like ours will have a “;gift for the future.”;