Tuesday, August 2, 2011


"I'm thirsty," came the cry from the backseat on the way to the sitter's this morning.

"Okay," I replied, bracing myself for the tantrum I knew was sure to come. "You can have some water as soon as we get to the babysitter's."

"NOOO!" came Puffin's shrill cry. "I don't WANT water!"

"Well, you're not thirsty then," I replied matter-of-factly.

"I want JUICE!" she insisted.

"You had juice for breakfast. If you're still thirsty, you can have water." Our caloric intake is extremely high as it without adding empty liquid calories to the count.

"I HATE WATER!" she shrieked. "I want milk!!!"

I have to limit her dairy intake due to constipation issues. I reminded her of this, and told her again she could have water.

She continued to cry and wail and scream the rest of the way to the sitter's about how mean I am to make her drink water, while I ignored her entirely but sighed inwardly to myself, wondering why it has to be this way. Must everything be a fight?

After dropping the kids off and heading off to work, I turned on the radio. K-Love was hosting a fundraiser for a Water for Life project for Compassion International. I thought of this morning's tussle as I heard story after story of children forced to drink sludge that made them sick, but there was no choice. They had nothing else to drink.

"Puffins needs to listen to these stories," I thought to myself. Not that it would likely make any difference. Four-year-olds are notoriously self-centered, after all.

But as the day progressed, a plan came to mind. For $55, I could purchase a filter that would supply one family in Rwanda with clean drinking water for the rest of their lives. Puffins has no way to earn money, nor any desire to as I've found from past experience, so having her help come up with the money wouldn't work. How could I involve her in this project and teach her a lesson in gratitude at the same time?

It came to me. I told Puffins this evening about the stories I heard, and asked her if she would like to help these poor children who have no clean water to drink. She was interested. We drew up a chart with numbers from 1 to 55. Every time Puffins drinks a glass of water without whining, complaining, or begging for juice or milk, she gets to mark off a number to represent a dollar earned toward the filter. When she reaches 55, we will buy the water filter for the family in Rwanda.

Puffins is excited about this, and asked for water with her dinner tonight. Here's hoping Puffins learns to appreciate what she has, while helping a family in Rwanda at the same time.

Want to help out too? Visit Compassion International and buy a water filter.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

That is a BRILLIANT idea! And right on a child's level of understanding. By any chance did you read about the little girl who just died a week or so ago in a horrible traffic accident who had just requested that people donate to an organization that provides fresh water filters to children instead of a gift for her 9th birthday? She passed away just after her birthday and her site has received over $500,000 in donations now. So heartbreaking but so touching at the same time.