Tag Archives: For parents

A gazillion steps away

Editor's note: The following is a guest post written by World Vision mommy blogger Alise Wright.

Though my children are getting old for picture books, I can still talk them into snuggling with me on the couch every now and again to read with me. And if I’m really lucky, the kids will ask me to read them a bedtime story. When I got African Heartbeat from World Vision by Barb Christing, I made sure that I gathered up the kids and sat down for a read.

African Heartbeat is a beautiful story about young Katie in America and little Neema in Africa. Katie has a desire to go to Africa to meet her sponsored sister, Neema, and she knows that even though their worlds are “a gazillion steps away,” the world gets smaller as her heart grows larger. Through sponsorship, Katie finds her heart growing larger each day.

I love that African Heartbeat doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like AIDS and the reality of extreme poverty. It’s easy to assume that children are unable to process issues of this magnitude, but Christing’s story makes them accessible even to young children.

[caption id="attachment_4685" align="alignright" width="240" caption=""African Heartbeat" By Barb Christing. ©2011 World Vision"][/caption]

This story shows a wonderful progression in the life of both the sponsoring family and the sponsored child. The reader, no matter how young or old, is able to see how sponsorship allows Neema to have a better life through education, training, and friendship.

The final pages in the book give some additional information to parents so that they are able to expand on the sponsorship story. It includes a map showing the location of Malawi in Africa, where Neema lives, a translation of the various Swahili names in the book, and some items to look for in the pictures, highlighting the differences in the community before and after sponsorship.

A "mom" to walk beside me

At 24, I moved across the country by myself for a new job.

At the time, my parents, as empty-nesters, moved to London, making the distance between us much, much farther -- six time zones away.

Having recently graduated from college, with a big move and new job before me, I was asking myself the typical “20-something” questions: What did my faith mean? What was God’s plan for me? Would I ever get married?!

As a beginning step to discovering those answers for my life, I started volunteering with my new church’s youth group. One of the girls’ parents, Kay and Sandy, invited me over for dinner.

Through Kay and Sandy, I was given what seemed like the two greatest gifts at the time -- free dinners and unlimited listening.

Of course, I was homesick and missed my parents, particularly my mother, very much.

Then, when the man I thought I was going to marry broke up with me, Kay put on the full eight hours of the "Anne of Green Gables" movies and cried with me.

8 ways to talk to kids about disasters

With the ever-growing, constantly moving, never sleeping media environment we live in today, kids are some of the first to see or hear about tragedy and disaster around the corner, or around the world. But as kids are exposed more and more to disturbing news footage....