Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charity begins at Home - Kiva

'Tis the season.

My favorite story about charitable giving at Christmas is called, "The Small White Envelope." Click here to read the story:

I have discovered a new charity called Kiva, and our little white envelope this year will hold a contribution to this organization. Kiva consists of "loans that change lives" and they let you lend to specific entrepreneurs in the developing world which empowers them to lift themselves out of poverty. I am going to let my daughter choose the entrepreneur that she would like to help.

Click here for more info on Kiva:

I am convinced that my daughter is going to choose some sort of humanitarian career when she attains adulthood. I feel that her heart beats to help children and animals.

My daughter recently inherited a windfall of $300. I told her that she could spend some of the money and save some of it. After pondering it for a bit, she said, "I think that I'll just save it all."

"Why?" I ask, completely confused why a 9-year old wouldn't want to spend at least part of the cash on something fun.

"Well, I thought I'd save it for you when you need to pay taxes."

Silence from me. I do not ever talk about paying taxes in her prescence. I think that she is fairly insulated from adult financial concerns, as a child should be.

After I explaining that I wouldn't need a loan from her in the near future, I said, "There's nothing that you would like to buy just for fun??"

"No. There's nothing that I really want, so I think that I'll just save it."

I later told a friend of mine this story. She was amazed at Hannah's generosity AND her fiscalness, especially at the age of 9. She has a daughter the same age, and she said that she was going to ask her daughter the same questions. She knew that her answers were not going to be similar in charitableness to my daughter's. She phoned me later to relate the conversation.

Mom: "I have a hypothetical question for you. (insert time here for definition of 'hypothetical.") Let's say that you received $300 out of the blue. What would you spend it on?"

Daughter: "AM I GETTING $300, MOM?"

Mom: "No." (and review definition of "hypothetical" again.)

Daughter: "Well, I think that I would buy a Nintendo for myself. Why are you asking me this, Mom?"

Mom explained to her daughter, how my daughter offered up her money to me to pay taxes. And, then when the offer was declined, my daughter decided to save the funds.

Daughter: "Wow. That's really sweet. Hey, Mom, I changed my mind.

Mom: Thinking that her daughter had considered this story of selfless generosity, and had changed her answer accordingly, asked, "What did you change your answer to, Honey?"

Daughter: "I decided that I'd much rather have a cell phone."

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