Friday, May 15, 2009

Well That Kinda Backfired

The wee ones are currently participating -- along with our church and its associated preschool -- in the Heifer Project. It's a really neat concept, including the small ark they are meant to fill and the calendar with different activities each day.



Heifer International is a great charity that helps relieve poverty around the globe. It doesn't just give money to various people and places, but it provides them with gifts of livestock and education so they can become self-reliant. As an added benefit, they have to give at least some of the offspring of the gift to someone else who needs it.



The wee ones love this project. They each have their own piggy bank, and they have happily shared what they have. In fact, the first day was an add your own contribution day. And the wee ones just about emptied their piggy banks before I stopped them, suggesting they save something for the next twenty-seven days.



Sometimes, they get a bit too overeager, however.

On Wednesday of the first week, the project was for animal feed, recounting how they provided feed to replace that which was ruined in Hurricane Katrina so that the animals could survive the winter. The tasks? "What do you hear? Give 10 cents for every time you yell, "Hey Mom," today. Give 25 cents every time she yells back."

And on Monday of the second week? "Seeing eye-to-eye? Add a nickel for every argument you've had this week."

This is a great idea for those kids who are ... reluctant to give. Then there's my house. "Hey, Mom. Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom! How many times was that?"

For both days, I finally had to switch it up. I took a pile of coins from the piggy banks and told them that each time they said hey mom or argued, I would take money away from the pile. That was much better.

Our only other problem came on rabbit day where you gave a nickel for each carrot in the fridge. I happen to have had 3 pounds of baby carrots. I was planning to make the whole wheat cranberry muffins I found one week on TMTT (they're SUPER good). The wee ones learned a good lesson on estimating that day.

This Sunday, we turn in our arks. There will be a large ceremony around it as part of Rogation Sunday. They're excited to turn them in and have even more people who can "Look! Do you see how heavy it is?" since apparently my reaction is no longer enough.

Aside from teaching charity and having them understand how they can very concretely help others, it's also a huge boon to their math skills. They both now know every coin by sight and the associated value. And Mister Man is getting pretty good at figuring out how to calculate how to add up the 10 cents for every faucet in our home and the like. He's even learning how to combine different kinds of coins to get to the same value.

We're all enthusiastic about this, and if you haven't heard of Heifer, go check it out. This is one of those charities I feel really good at on a number of levels. And I can't wait until we get our arks next year!

14 comments:

Brenda May 15, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

Sounds like a wonderful project and a great way to teach children how to give.

H F W May 15, 2009 at 4:39 PM  

This is one of things I'm so looking forward to doing with my toddler; I adore these types of learning experiences and chances to grow.
I'm glad it has been such a great experience for your family; your children have such big hearts!

Veggie Mom May 15, 2009 at 6:27 PM  

What a great idea! It's a good idea to get those little bits started in their philanthropic pursuits early in life, don't you think?

Megryansmom May 15, 2009 at 7:13 PM  

You might want to hang onto those arks for a while. This rain isn't letting up anytime soon.

septembermom May 15, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

Terrific idea to get kids involved in charity. Your kids are learning so much about selflessness and generosity through this project. Good for them and good for you!!

Sock Monkey May 15, 2009 at 9:20 PM  

Late but never forgotten! Have a great weekend my fellow sitstahs!

Camp Sock Monkey

Mary May 15, 2009 at 9:21 PM  

I'd go broke on carrot day too.

Neat project!

Melisa with one S May 16, 2009 at 7:14 AM  

The Hey Mom! thing? Would drive me over the edge.

But (of course) you found a great way to switch it up! Sounds like a really great program.

Mathea May 16, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

That is such an awesome project! I have thought about participating in that before, just never got around to it. Maybe I will now.
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Michelle May 16, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

Brenda - It really is. And I love that they keep their operating costs low, too. That's one of my (many) pet peeves about charities like the United Way.

Hyacynth - Oh it will be so much fun. You have a ton to look forward to!

Veggie Mom - I completely agree. I remember not having much even mentioned in high school, but now even early elementary school age children are strongly encouraged to volunteer. I love that mindset.

Megryansmom - No doubt! We got to the park yesterday to go biking, and it started raining almost immediately! It wasn't supposed to rain until last night.

Septembermom - I hope they are. Sometimes I wonder if they just don't yet have the concept of money down, as they're so willing to give it away.

Sock Monkey - Hmm, a camp sock monkey. I'm intrigued.

Mary - Good to know I'm not the only one. Thank goodness carrots was only a nickel and not a quarter!

Melisa - And it's not far to the edge for me ;) I'm guessing this wasn't something your temple ever did?

Mathea - Oh it's so worth it... and fun. Thank you for the award!

Karen May 18, 2009 at 8:05 AM  

I love the multi-faceted learning. And thank goodness you put a nix on things in the Hey Mom department. Whose idea was that anyway?

Angela May 18, 2009 at 9:26 AM  

Fun! I think Angie has mentioned this project to me before. It sounds like a great thing and I agree, it is much better to be creative about it rather than just having the kids drop money somewhere for something nebulous. Great job to both Wee Ones!

Cookie May 18, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

THat is a great idea, but I'd be running out of coins :S

Michelle May 18, 2009 at 9:35 PM  

Karen - It is pretty cool on the different levels. And the person who made up the hey mom thing? Obviously a Heifer staffer with no children! :)

Angela - Yep, I love the connection. We definitely need to find more things like this that are tangible things.

Cookie - Well, we would have, too, except that my husband cannot spend coins. Ever. He is only capable of spending paper money. Thus, the wee ones have a decent chunk of change (pun intended!) in their piggy banks.

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