Today's post comes to us from Carolyn Baas, whose daughter, Bella, is featured in the video "I Like Bugshells," which originally appeared on the "I Like Giving" blog. Bella's generosity at just 5 years old has inspired many others to demonstrate a giving spirit -- and just might change the world. See how!
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A smooth cream envelope sits between a stack of bills on our worn kitchen table. My children lay down dishes in a row as we gather around for a family dinner. The envelope holds a letter from Pirelia, our sweet sponsored girl.
We read her words and, although they were written all the way in Rwanda, it’s as if she now sits with us at our table. My 5-year-old daughter, Bella, draws a picture of a butterfly to send back to her. She adds stickers and smiles.
Bella has a very curious mind, and she starts asking questions about children like Pirelia. Some of them I don’t want to answer, because the truth is just impossibly unfair. But I tell her anyway. I tell her that some children don’t have access to really basic things like clean drinking water. I tell her this while I’m standing at the kitchen sink, letting the water run down until it gets warm enough for me to wash my hands comfortably.
Bella wonders if the stickers are enough.
She wants everyone to have clean drinking water just like she does, so she decides to do something about it.
Find out what, by viewing the story here:
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Since that pop bottle adventure, Bella’s spirit of generosity continues. She has eyes full of awareness, and she shows me all the time how to see the world around us, whether it’s the world in Africa or the world in our own backyard.
One time after she had saved up her allowance quarters for quite some time, she said she wanted to buy a present for her Great Grandma G’s birthday. She found a beautiful bouquet of purple flowers. It was the most expensive in the bunch, so I tried to steer her to some less expensive options, which she promptly turned down because she wanted Great Grandma G to have the best.
I told her how kind and generous this was, and then I said I would like to help her buy the flowers, and she could just give me a few of her quarters. She said no. She said she wanted to buy it -- all of it, even though it was going to cost her entire savings. Bella knew the difference between a gift and a sacrifice, and she wanted her Great Grandma G to have both.
As a parent, I try my best to teach my kids, but many times, it’s the other way around. I love to give, but I had to think long and hard about the last time I made a sacrifice like that. When did I give all that I had? When did I give not even because someone needed it, but because I wanted that person to have the best instead of me having the most?
I asked Bella why she gives, and she said, “Because it makes me be happy.”
I think she’s right. And I think about that happiness spilling over into her world. I think about Pirelia opening her stickers and peeling away with delight. I think of the children in Africa drinking a cup of clean water, perhaps for the very first time. I think of Great Grandma G’s smile as she passes by the purple flowers soaking up the sun coming in through her kitchen window.
And I realize that all of this came to be through the time, thoughtfulness, and resources of a 5-year-old.
I wonder today in my grown-up world: What would happen if I acted more like a child?
Are you inspired by Bella's generosity? Here are two ways you can honor her giving spirit:
Sponsor a girl in Rwanda, where Pirelia lives, or connect with a child from another country of your choice. Your love and commitment will help provide life-giving basics like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, education, and emotional and spiritual nurture -- establishing stability for the present and hope for the future.
Browse our Gift Catalog and honor a loved one by donating a gift in his or her name that will help lift a child, family, or entire community out of poverty.