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!