.... and with teaching our children about it. One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is how we respond to suffering in others, and how we care for people we don't even know. It's very easy to give them a pound to put in the box on a non-uniform day in school to raise money for a charity that they won't even remember the name of tomorrow, but it's much harder to teach them what it means to need the help of that charity.
I've started volunteering with a local food bank recently - we give food parcels to local families who are in real need, and I've been thrilled with the response from parents at my daughter's school who have donated food for the project. I'm always amazed at how generous people are, and the fact that it's being left in the school porch, where the children pass through every day, will hopefully mean that the kids take note of this very practical way that we can help people in need, on our doorstep.
We're taking our children to India this summer and we've tried to talk to them about the poverty we'll see while we're there, and the fact that there will be children we will meet who don't have enough to eat either, or even any toys. This second thing seems to have caught their imagination and they've started coming up with ideas of small toys and gifts that we can take to give to children that we meet - pens, bouncy balls, balloons. While I'm not sure how much difference a bouncy ball will make to an Indian child living in poverty, I'm hoping that the act of giving and thinking of others will have an effect on our children that lasts until they are adults and can make a more significant difference, by how they chose to live their lives.