Tag Archives: For parents

[Video] I Like Bugshells: Changing the world at age 5

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!

The fatherless epidemic

Today's post comes from World Vision blogger Matthew Paul Turner, who traveled to Bolivia on our blogger trip last August to experience the work of World Vision and the impact of child sponsorship. Here, he shares one of his encounters from that trip -- and how it changed his perspective on the idea of fatherhood.

A good dad, an everyday hero

We don’t always appreciate the miracle of a plain and ordinary but good life. Too often, we fail to value the dad who is simply present. He helps out with schoolwork, shows up at Little League, and brings his paycheck home.

It’s easy to assume that human lives are meaningful when something special happens to make us pay attention. We celebrate the Olympic heroes, those who make great leaps in advancing science, or the industrial tycoons who create the products for which we are willing to stand hours in line. It’s the people we read about, the people we see on television, the decision-makers who really matter. The ordinary, faithful dad doesn’t rank.

Images of fatherhood

One father in Burundi struggles to feed his child, but lays down his pride and begs his neighbors for help to feed his son. Another in Mexico leaves his gang and opens a tattoo studio to teach his son and friends about the importance of a non-violent lifestyle. Yet another father in Cambodia starts a new chapter by giving up his alcohol addiction in order to be a better dad and husband.

The challenges of fatherhood may be diverse and broad in scope -- but love, care, and self-sacrifice are traits that dads all around the world have in common, regardless of their circumstances. In honor of this upcoming Father's Day, June 17, these images show some of the precious moments fathers around the world share with their children.

A little child shall lead them

Although I wrote this last year, I feel it deserves a repeat-performance. I visited this family again recently and brought their daughter Lilly an actual malaria net, like those World Vision uses in Africa because I know the compassion she feels for those affected by malaria, an experience from a previous visit with her folks. She's a busy 7-year-old now and couldn't remember the entire incident, so I promised to find what I'd written last year and send it to her. Re-reading it blessed me and I hope it blesses you, too.

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This year, we all agreed to forgo the typical presents for our adult extended family members and instead choose gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog. We'd given some similar "gifts" previously, but this year there was a special abandon to it -- a desire to really make these "thoughtful" gifts for each receiver, a criteria very close to my wife Janet's heart.

The gift we can't wait to explain

I'm often seeking beautiful stories of child sponsorship, because I know so many exist out there. When I find one, I eagerly await the author's permission to republish their words on our blog so it can be shared with so many more. Brynn's post -- which came highly recommended from a World Vision sponsor, who I'm blessed to call a friend -- eloquently captures the beauty of child sponsorship and why it's really a gift to every person it touches. Merry Christmas! —Lindsey Talerico-Hedren, managing editor, World Vision Blog

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This is my most favorite gift that we are giving this year.

Even more than the tablets we are giving the kids, but that might just be because I'm frustrated with trying to set them up and figure out why they won't connect to our wifi. Seriously, Apple has spoiled me because all of their stuff just works and works easily, but with a 10- and 12-year-old, there was no way that we were going to buy them iPads because they are 10 and 12, which means their gifts have to be indestructible or at least not cause their father to cry if they break them.

...And on that point, can I just say I miss the days when you got the kids presents that you spent four hours putting together instead of electronic gifts that require massive hours and Google to set up?

Happy birthday, Jesus | Blog 12 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

I love to give gifts.

Love. LOve. LOVe. LOVE to give gifts.

It started as a little girl when I would go shopping at the Dollar Store for my family for Christmas.

Then, when I got my first job, I began shopping year-round, seeking the best deals and the perfect gifts for everyone on my list.

15 years later, I still shop year-round. I usually finish shopping in early November and want to start wrapping right away.

I am THAT excited to give the gifts I have purchased.

Jesus, the comic-book superhero

How often do you get the chance to read comic books at work? What about one that is centered around Jesus and the Christmas story -- or one that benefits the work of an international humanitarian organization?

Not often? Or never? That's why we've asked Billy Tucci, a new World Vision partner, writer, and award-winning comic book illustrator, to guest-post for us on his newest comic book, A Child is Born.

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“Dad, why do you want to do the birth of Jesus instead of a superhero book?”

My eldest son wasn’t the first person to ask why, in a genre dominated by capes and cowls, would anyone do a comic book on the Christmas story?

A classic Christmas story goes Veggie!

I am usually a stickler on no-Christmas-stuff-until-Thanksgiving-is-done rule. I want to experience one holiday at a time -- mixing pilgrims with Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is just too much for me!

But, this year, I caved.

In November, I opened up my mailbox to find a new VeggieTales DVD -- a Christmas Veggie Tales movie, "The Little Drummer Boy." I couldn't tell my kids to wait several weeks before we watched it, right? Right?! We had to sit down immediately and see what Bob and Larry were up to!

And I'm so glad we did.

Holiday gift guide: 30 meaningful gifts under $50

Does your holiday shopping list look anything like this?

iPad 2: $499. Kindle Fire: $199. UGG boots: $150. Long lines. Busy parking lots. Good finds for $30 are now good finds for $50 -- and it's really a bargain if your $300 gift is reduced to $200 in a Black Friday sale.

If this sounds familiar, you can save your anxiety and checkbook this year by giving a gift whose impact will last much longer than the latest version of that electronic device. Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas this year with a gift that can change lives. Use this as your guide to some meaningful (and inexpensive) holiday gifts from World Vision's partners, our Gift Catalog, our U.S. programs team, and our Maximum Impact items!

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$35 per month: Sponsoring a child is the best Christmas gift you can give. World Vision sponsors help provide children with the basic building blocks for a better life: clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education, economic development, and more. And child sponsorship provides such benefits not just for the sponsored child, but his or her family and community as well.

$25: Help fund a small loan for a hardworking entrepreneur who lives in poverty. One in every five people in the world lives on less than $1.25 a day. But through World Vision Micro, you can give a small business owner the help he or she needs to escape this cycle of despair. And when the loan is repaid, it's recycled to help even more entrepreneurs in need!

Starting at $24: Shop GIVEN, the new apparel line for men and women, inspired by World Vision. And today through Sunday, get FREE shipping on all orders! (Use code "THANKSGIVING" at checkout.)

Blessing #3: Compassionate kids

We're counting our blessings each day this week in celebration of Thanksgiving. Blessing #3: The many compassionate and beautiful children who remind us every day what it means to have a child-like faith in a God who loves us.

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The fun and sometimes frustrating thing about being a writer is that you never quite know what kind of story you are going to get. Sometimes, great leads turn out to be disappointing. Other times, what looks like a humdrum story turns out to have a twist that blows your socks off.

So it was with a sense of nervous anticipation that I called Teresa and Carl Camera of Austin, Texas. I’d been asked to write a feature story about them for World Vision Magazine. Teresa had written to the magazine, saying how blessed her family was by the publication and how it was helping their boys -- Kevin, 10, and Christopher, 11 -- develop a more compassionate outlook.

It was very kind of Teresa to say so, of course, but perhaps a stretch to write on for 1,000 words.

But once I got on the phone with the Cameras, I discovered they had a whole range of strategies for helping their boys become more caring people. These conversations became the basis of the “Raising Kids Who Care” feature in the current issue of the magazine.

Giving Christmas away

Not too long ago, I received the kindest of emails from Marina, the famed Energizer Bunnies' Mommy from the Energizer Bunnies' Mommy Reports blog. Marina shared with me an idea she and another blogger had about using their social media influence to inspire readers to make Christmas meaningful for more than just their own children this year.

This guest post from Marina (and this week's series on Marina's and Angie's blogs) is a result of their desire to "give" Christmas to those less fortunate in this country and around the world this holiday season. Thank you, Marina and Angie!
Lindsey, World Vision Blog

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Christmas is less than 50 days away. What’s on your child’s wish list?

A LeapPad Explorer? Let's Rock Elmo? A Fijit Friend? Oh, yes, the hottest toys of the season!

A treat for any child! Or is it?

Do you know what’s on these children’s wish list this Christmas?

French first baby already a winner in the geographic lottery

Maybe you're like me: You have a sudden feeling of joy every time you hear of a baby being born, or a newly announced pregnant mother-to-be. Two months ago, I sat in the hospital, awaiting the birth of my new nephew, ready to hear the sweet melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" that's played each time a baby is born.

It's the same feeling of joy I had earlier this week, hearing the announcement of the birth of the daughter of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. I recall when we heard the wonderful news in May that the Sarkozys were expecting -- around the same time G8 leaders gathered in France to discuss issues of economic and global development.

At the time, my colleague, Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz, was in France, representing World Vision at the G8 Summit. While there, she hand-delivered a baby gift basket intended for the French first lady. The basket included everyday items readily available to women in Western European or North American pharmacies and grocery stores -- such as hygiene supplies, safe birthing kits, and nutritious foods -- that are often inaccessible to pregnant women living in poverty in developing countries.

In a press release yesterday from my colleagues, World Vision congratulates the Sarkozys on the newest addition to their family.

My 5 favorite things about Tanzania (a post for your kids)

On this blog, we've had a variety of guest bloggers in the past -- Mark Hall from Casting Crowns; Josh Loveless from Relevant Magazine; Reneé Stearns, wife of World Vision president Rich Stearns; and Adam Jeske from InterVarsity.

But we've never had a guest blogger quite like this one.

He's a newcomer to the blogging world, a well-respected teacher to many, and a lover of God's children and kingdom. He's known to be a bit of a health addict, a vegetarian, really big on going green. A believer in diversity of friendships, the company he enjoys comes in all shapes and sizes -- a bit beyond the garden-variety, if we can say so. Although he's become quite the movie star, he's managed stay humble and down-to-earth.

A letter to the mothers and fathers of Bolivia

To the incredible mothers and fathers of Bolivia,

This journey has been an opportunity to give a voice for the voiceless. To put a spotlight on the unseen. To shed light on what life is like through the eyes of Bolivians. I hope that I have shared and will continue to share your stories with the accuracy and thoughtfulness that they deserve.

To the mothers who pray daily for the health and future of their children -- you are the fortitude of your families. To the mothers who battle cultural discrimination because their children are born with disabilities -- you are women of strength. To the mothers who took in children who were not their own because no one else would -- you are brave. To Celestina whose son Wilfram was born with a heart condition and down syndrome – I count you full of courage for never giving up hope in his life or in God.

[Bolivia bloggers] Day 1: 3 airports down, 2 to go...

My morning started at 3:50 am, that's the time my first alarm went off. Three alarms later, I rushed to get up, panicking, thinking I was already late for my first flight. I quickly showered, finished throwing in last minute items into the suitcase, grabbed a bottle of water, then I was out the door.

By 6:30 am, I was through the long, dreaded security line, took my trek to the gate, and boarded my first of two flights for the day -- this one at Sea-Tac airport, the next in about four more hours at Dallas Fort Worth international airport.

Dallas welcomed me with 92 degree heat. I was certainly not in Seattle anymore. And Miami must have known I was coming, too, because it's still 90 degrees outside here, even at 7:45 in the evening. Now I'm just waiting for Ms. Elizabeth Esther and Ms. Nish Weiseth to arrive in the next hour or two. We lucky west coasters are staying the night here before everyone else arrives in the morning.

Where kids’ books meet the real story: Building a healthy village

In the afternoon of our first day with World Vision in Sinazongwe, Zambia, Emily Syabubila, a widow and mother of three, gives us a tour of her compound. It consists of a one-room house with two beds for her and her daughters; another one-room home for her son; three raised chicken coops; an outdoor cook hut; and a raised drying rack for her corn.

In my last post, I shared how microloans (similar to those described in my book "One Hen") had enabled her to restore her family to economic and food security after malaria claimed the life of her husband. She now invites us to share in rituals of harvest and shuck dried maize with her. Hard. Then she throws the kernals in the air to winnow the chaff, catching the good grain expertly in a metal bowl. We don’t even dare. But we do take turns pounding the grain in her mortar, and manage to spill enough to attract her hens for the good eats. Where Emily sings as she pounds, we grunt!

Where kids’ books meet the real story: From malaria to microloans

I had the privilege last month of traveling with World Vision to the district of Sinazongwe, Zambia, where rolling hills covered in acacia, cacti, and fruit trees look remarkably like parts of Southern California. But tucked among them are mud brick huts with thatched roofs, small vegetable gardens by muddy pools, and high racks where cobs of maize dry beyond the reach of animals. We pass a small roadside market, where women sell tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and stalks of sugar cane beside a banana grove.

The statistics of this region belie the bucolic scene. Malaria plagues a quarter of children under 5, often fatally, and affects 9 percent of the overall population, according to Rose Zambezi, World Vision's technical adviser for health. HIV and AIDS persist, too, affecting 14 percent of Zambians. As a children’s book author, I’m especially interested in these statistics as I’m working on a story about an African family that strives to create a “healthy village.”

Fullness of life: A new father's story

Editor's note: In honor of Father's Day, Pato Isquierdo, a communications officer in Ecuador (pictured above with his wife, Karly, and son, Matias), shares with us how becoming a new father has changed his perspective and lent new meaning to his work with World Vision.

The bus was already entering Quito, Ecuador, at 9 p.m. I was fully loaded with cameras, a laptop, and back pain.

But it was OK -- I was finally arriving home. It was my first trip to a World Vision development community since I became a father. I just needed to get home and rest for the next day.

But while riding the bus home, I found a whole new level of understanding of the depth of a part of World Vision's mission statement: “life in all its fullness.”

Yes, I know that this is our goal with everything we do at work. But what about "fullness of life" for my own son? Then, it all made sense! Everything I've learned during my time with World Vision had a new angle.