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January 26, 2004



Teachers at Emma's school are fundraising for a sister school in a third world country. Each family is to donate a notebook, a pencil, a ruler and an eraser, which will all be distributed to a school which has none of these basic supplies.

So Emma's questions about 'poor people' have spilled into a few conversations here at home ... clearly because they've told her there are poor people out there, but she doesn't know who they are or what it means.

Entire conversations go something like this:

"Poor people live in one room, all together."
"Maybe some of them do."
She thinks about this for a minute.
"Poor people don't have toys."
"They may have some toys, but not very many."
"Poor people don't have cups!"
"Emma, I'm sure they must have some cups and plates"

Anyway, it's clear to me that she just doesn't get it. We are so lucky to have a roof over our head (and more than one room), and toys, and more cups and plates that can squeeze into our dishwasher.

I'm thinking of signing us up for one of those registered charities where you are 'assigned' a child in a third world country. One you can correspond with and get to know a little bit. It puts a human face on the poverty, and I bet everyone will get a lot out of this experience... and not just the recipient, but the givers as well.

Marcia Lynx Qualey

We see lots of people down on their luck--or down on their government's luck, or down on the whole Third World's luck--out here. I'm sure there's more we could do, there's always more we could do...I just don't know what it is.

I think the most important thing is not to teach your children--by your own behavior--that these people are invisible or embarrassing; that they shouldn't be looked at or acknowledged.

We were born on third base, as it were. Into fortunate homes in a fortunate country at a fortunate time. Other people weren't, and it sucks.


What a great way to help. As far as teaching them compassion, it sounds like you've got it covered well.

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