If you wish for something, it stands a chance of happening.
(from Wish by Joseph Monninger)
The other day, while the baby napped, my son and I spent some time gathering pecans in our front yard. This is one of the things I love about autumn–Texas may not have the gorgeous, fiery foliage the Northeast brags, but we have delicious pie ingredients filling our yards from September to December. Benjamin was full of energy and excitement.
Mom! Some of the pecans are hiding in these little pecan boats!
This is a little, tiny, baby pecan, Mom!
Wow! Mom! They have FOOD in them?!
The realization that the trees literally rain food down on our heads filled my sweet boy with wonder and pure enjoyment.
Then he found a dandelion–a final dandelion, like the yard was holding on to that last piece of summer–one that had gone to seed. He held it up to me and I thought he would burst with the joy of it. I FOUND one, Mom!!!
“Did you make a wish?” I asked him as he blew the dandelion seeds and we watched them scatter into the sky like snowflakes going the wrong way.
“You’re supposed to make a wish when you blow on a dandelion. What do you wish for?”
I just wish for more of these dandy flowers.
I laughed because, of all the things he could wish, that is the most likely to come true, much to my husband’s chagrin. (He is a fan of landscaping, and not a fan of dandelions.) And I thought, how wonderful that the one thing he wishes for will happen because he blew the seeds himself. They will spread and germinate and become new dandelions next summer.
I look at my children and you know, I wish it was a better world. I wish the evening news didn’t fill me with sorrow. I wish that every little boy and girl could be well fed and clothed, could have clean drinking water, medicine when they need it, and protection. We try to provide these things for our children. I wish my fed, clothed, healthy, safe and loved children will have compassion and empathy. I hope they can avoid the entitlement and narcissism our culture will certainly try to push on them. These are my wishes.
I hold them like a dandelion between my fingers, in front of my lips. How can I spread the seeds of these wishes in a way that they take root and grow?
I explain, gently and firmly, every time we are in the grocery store and my son asks for certain candies, why we don’t buy that kind of chocolate. I show him again the way to tell if chocolate is slave free. Then I spend a just a little bit extra to buy the right kind of chocolate. So that a child slave doesn’t have to work with a machete in the blistering sun to indulge my first world craving.
I lead my son in giving, in buying from good organizations, in supporting good causes. I explain it to him simply. As he grows, we will explain it more fully. I pray that he will understand. I pray that he will have empathy and compassion.
But I struggle, because I love Christmas. I love wrapping gifts and hanging beautiful ornaments and giving good gifts that I know loved ones will like. I love the extra baking and the extra eating of the holiday season. I struggle because I know that Americans, myself among them, spend more money on the Christmas season than it would take to deliver clean water to the world. I don’t want my children to be narcissists, but I also don’t want them to resent all the things we try to teach them because they are the only ones left out. That’s why we didn’t give up chocolate altogether, but we indulge in fairly traded and responsibly sourced chocolate. With Christmas looming, it’s tricky.
So imagine my delight at finding something today that allows you to spend money AND give to worthy causes at the same time. I could explain it to you myself, but I don’t think I could do it any better than Jen Hatmaker has already done. So I will simply refer you to her very excellent blog post Before You Spend Another Penny. It explains how you can get connected to Pure Charity and make the most of money you are spending anyway.
Even if you don’t read Jen’s post, please bookmark Pure Charity and check it out when you have time. Together, we can make a little bit go a really long way. We can spread the seeds of so many dandelions and give our own best wishes a chance.