raising citizens of the world

I’ve been contemplating, recently, what it means to be a citizen of the world – and, specifically, a citizen of the world whose income is in the top 1% worldwide.

I don’t want my life to be just about me. I believe that part of what following Jesus means is that, like His, my life is all about loving others. I just finished reading Rhinestone Jesus, by Kristen Welch, who started a maternity home to help pregnant girls in Kenya, and I think, Some days I can barely keep all my kids clean, fed, and schooled; there’s no way I could start a non-profit and do anything like that. I think about the millions of orphans in the world today, children whose biggest need is for a mom and dad, someone to love and care for them, and I tell myself, We’re looking toward it, but we’re really not quite ready to adopt again yet. 

And I wonder…what can I do? And I question how I can model being a giver and how I can teach my children to be givers, and I’m truly not sure what to do and how to do it.

A couple weeks ago we were at a show put on by an organization that invited the audience members to sign up with them to sponsor children in need. Miranda watched the video they played and listened to their plea for sponsors, and she turned to me and whispered earnestly, “Mom, I want to do that!”

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Not knowing much about that particular organization, I was hesitant to sign up for a financial commitment to them that night, but I promised her we could talk about it. Matt and I agreed that she (and we) could sponsor a child through Compassion, an organization whose efficacy has been proven.

We logged onto the website, and Miranda decided she’d like to sponsor a five-year-old girl like herself. We pulled out the globe and talked about countries in which there were children needing sponsors, and she chose to focus on Guatemala, the country from which her friends Glendy and Larissa were adopted. Up popped a photo of a little girl named Hellen, just about a month older than Miranda, who had been waiting for a sponsor for quite some time, and Miranda quickly decided this was the girl she’d like to sponsor. She’s committed to using some of her meager wealth to invest in Hellen’s life financially and writing letters to her and seeking to be a friend to her from afar.

I’m not sure exactly where we’re going to find the money for Hellen’s sponsorship in our budget, but I’m confident it’s there.

This is something to which we can say yes. I don’t have grand plans to change the world. I don’t have a comprehensive vision for what we should do and how we should use the enormous blessings we’ve been given to love others well. We can’t do all things for all people. But we can help one – this is one thing we can do for one person.

And perhaps, in the process, my daughter will begin to grow into the world-changer I hope that she will be.

What about you? What does it mean to you to be a citizen of the world? Parents, how are you teaching your children about giving to and caring for others?