Welcome to Georgia's Journey

Georgia Lily Lucas was born at home on October 6th, 2008 4:15am, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) on April 1, 2009.

On April 3rd Georgia was taken home, to be near her sisters and the rest of her family and friends. Nearly three weeks later, on April 21, 2009, she died peacefully -- in the loving arms of her mother and in the same room in which she was born.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teaching Charity

Calla will be 6 years old in less than two weeks. For the last month we have been discussing her birthday party. The first decision was where to have it. I couldn't really bear to have it at the house this year... too many memories from last year. So we settled on the Y. The next and most challenging decision was deciding on whether or not to do gifts. On this front, I have failed miserably.

While in Portugal the girls had two ponies each, two Littlest Pet Shop Pets each and a ball. They played happily with these toys for hours on end. I should mention that they also had some arts and crafts supplies as well as some books but the playing was done with very few toys. I asked Calla what she wanted for her birthday and initially she listed a couple of ideas. I explained to her that along with Auntie and Uncle we would be happy to get her these things. I then had a long chat with her about different kinds of charities and brought up the idea that perhaps she would like to invite her friends to donate to one of her choosing. Note: I did not use Georgia's death to try to guilt her into this. We discussed all kinds of charities and she was actually very interested in the Humane Society. Calla is a huge animal lover! She was still unsure about this idea and I told her that she could think about it as it was her decision.

Sometime between Portugal and making invitations she decided that she wanted gifts. I have bitten my tongue on the matter and am trying really hard to let it go but am still struggling. My girls have so much! They are surrounded by family and friends that love to shower them with love and 'stuff'. The have more ponies and Littlest Pet Shop that most kids their age. They have dolls, Barbies and stuffies. They have baskets full of arts and crafts supplies.

Mike and I have always tried to show our children how to be generous. We always have the girls donate a toy and food at Christmas time. When they have outgrown some of their clothes and toys we always donate them to others and talk about why this is important. When Calla's school was collecting for the Haiti disaster we not only wrote a cheque but made sure that Calla had some money in her pocket to hand over herself so that she see and feel what it is to give.

I am trying to remind myself that she is still only 5 years old and deserves to have a party like any other child. The one limit I have set is that for every one new thing that Calla gets for her birthday she will have to choose one old one to donate to others. The invites have been sent so it is too late for this year but if any of you have any suggestions about doing a better job of teaching charity please feel free to share.

Our Calla is thriving and we couldn't be more proud of her. We only want to help her to understand that all of these gifts mean very little compared to the joy of celebrating a birthday with people who mean the world to you.

Love to you all,

Kristen

5 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more! I tried the same thing with Sabrina with no luck. She doesn't even look at most of the things she got for her birthday and often complains about being "bored" unless there's boxes and paper and tape around to build something. I'm going to keep trying, though. She's very open and willing to go through her items often and give them away. If you get any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

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  2. Kristen, I don't think you have to do any more than you are doing! You are showing her through encouraging her to donate, by giving away clothing and toys, helping her to feel part of the donating etc-but she still is only 5! I think your idea of giving away one thing for each of the new items is a FANTASTIC idea, and again, that is her way of helping someone in need. I think teaching our kids is so important, but I know I sometimes expect too much and forget their ages, and this is one aspect that I think kids wanting surprises and presents is totally and completely natural. Calla has had so much to deal with in her own short 5 years and has had so many lessons to learn this past year especially I bet the thought of fun and presents is just SO exciting to her! You do a fantastic job, and seeing her be so happy after the year you have had just shows you are doing it right. Calla is a sweet girl, she shares, she shows love and appreciation....and that is because of you and all you teach her. Just keep doing what you are doing, she is already and will continue to grow into a wonderful, compassionate, loving girl and woman!!
    Hugs, Em

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  3. Well that's a hard one but what seems to work for our girls (7 & 5) is Spend, Save and Give jars... the girls have jars labled spend save and give they choose with a little help from Mom and Dad where their money (birthday, allowance, ect.) goes and what's an appropriate way to split it up the girls choose a charity or charities to give to as he year goes on and we make a special day of it and drive down to where ever and let them hand in the money themselves. I found it helps them understand what it means to give and to be honest Maryssa is just starting to get it and she's almost 8 so it may take some time.

    Also we have now discussed having a birthday party that is only 1-3 friends and I allow them to do gifts but we request that our family dosen't give to the girls, this is hard for oma and opa and I've always said if you really must please give them money for there education fund but please no toys we have to much. We still have cake with our family and that seems to be fine with the kids. I hope this helps?

    With love
    Vanessa

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  4. I think you're doing a great job. Expecting her to give away an equal number of older toys is a perfect compromise, IMO.

    If you do allowance, having them put some away for charity is another great idea too.

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  5. Hi Kristen, I have heard a great idea that I am going to try to get my kids to consider. Ask that the children who are attending send a monetary gift(maximum of $15-$20). Explain that half will be for charity and the other half will be for you child to spend on something they really want. My friends son who goes to Nordale school did this and almost all the parties he went to last year also did this.
    Kristen T

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