B is by and large a wonderfully kind girl but this year I decided to pushed the compassion part in her a bit more. How do you make a child feel the whole process of giving something up for a greater good? Even we adults, we find inner conflict giving up something we want for a someone else’s needs that we have nothing to gain from.
It’s one thing to give money that your parents passed to you to put into the donation box but it is another matter altogether to give up some of your own money. I thought it is a good way to inculcate that while we are a thrifty family and we understand the value of money, we are not so tight fisted that we don’t give some back to those who are in need, especially those who are voiceless and four legged.
Since Easter is just round the corner, I decided to see if she would be willing to give up some of her birthday ang pows (red packets) for the needs of some foster rabbits. (There are about 1000 abandoned rabbits a year in Singapore and our regular rabbit carer* herself has 19 foster rabbits, a majority who were suddenly homeless when the pet shop owner passed away).
First I laid out all the ang-pows (red packets) she had gotten for her birthday, which was just last week. We counted them, $70 in total.
Then I asked her, “You already have so many presents and now you have $70 in ang pow money. Would you like to share some for the foster rabbits? Give some money to Little Bobtail since they have so many foster rabbits under their care?”
She paused for a minute to think.
I had some butterflies in my stomach. What is my kid turns out to be an utterly selfish brat and says “Why should I??” or tells me “Ok… $1” … To think I brought this on myself…
Luckily, she didn’t disappoint.
“How about $20?” she says, looking at me with eyes seeking approval. Thank goodness for her age where mama is never questioned and Daddy is the man she wants to marry.
The horrible cynic in me decides to push a few more buttons. Why why why I do this to myself, I don’t know. But the words were out before I could think. Despicable me, really…
“You’re sure? $10? $20? $50?” (these were the dollar notes that were on the table – 1 $50, 2 $10)
“Yes, $20″, came the decisive answer. ” We save the $50 but I don’t have a Singapore bank account.”
“No problem, we will open one soon.”
As we were choosing the ang pow to put it in (I have a box full of new red packets), imagine our amazement when the one she chose had a $10 note inside. It must have been the leftover ang pow mistakenly put with the new ones.
B: Wow, there’s $10 inside.
M: Really wow… you give $20 and you get $10 back. Instant karma!
I couldn’t have asked for a better lesson plan.
* Little Bobtail Resort is a great boarding facility for rabbits. It’s like checking into the Club Med for rabbits. They might not be entirely happy to leave! They get round the clock care and get this, fresh carrot tops, fresh herbs for treats! This is of course, my own personal opinion and not a paid endorsement!
Check them out at http://www.littlebobtailresort.com/