They Had Little. They Gave to Those With Less.

When children at an orphanage in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia learned about other children growing up in the city’s largest garbage dump, they felt more than compassion. They felt moved to act. 

Parents, you’ve probably been there.

You enter your child’s room and look down at what was once only carpet. Now, piled before you, are action figures, Barbie dolls, pieces from five different board games, dress-up clothes and school clothes, and about a million Legos.

After trying to decipher which toy piece goes with which toy, and inevitably stepping on a Lego or two in the process (ouch!), you decide that it’s time for some major spring-cleaning.

And, hopefully, a lesson in generosity to go with it.

You bring your preschooler into his or her room, and gently tell them that it’s time to pick out some toys and clothes to donate, maybe to a daycare, or a secondhand store, or a homeless shelter — for kids and families who need a little extra help.

Now, the question to your child: “What would you like to give away?”

The answer: Give away? Nothing … these are my toys and clothes.

Suddenly, that toy that hasn’t been played with in almost a year is now your child’s favorite toy, and he just can’t bring himself to part with that two-sizes-too-small T-shirt. This might be a tough process, but, hopefully, if it becomes a common practice, your youngster will begin to understand the significance of giving back, of not living in excess, and of how it feels to make someone’s day — and possibly life — a little brighter.

Still, it can be a hard sell asking a 3-year-old to give up his toys for the first time in his life. Generosity doesn’t always come easily.

But for a group of children at the Big Family Institute in Mongolia, it does come easily. Perhaps because life hasn’t. Continue reading “They Had Little. They Gave to Those With Less.”