This summer I have been following the Seattle Times articles about Rachel Beckwith, a little girl who asked family and friends to donate to her campaign for clean water rather than giving her gifts for her ninth birthday. Her goal was $300. The charity received $220 by Rachel’s June 12th birthday.
One month later, Rachel was severely injured in a massive car pileup on I-90 and taken off life support.
When her minister learned of the accident, he reactivated the website and donated the remaining $80 toward her goal. And when the community understood Rachel’s heartfelt wish, they also gave. Current donations total $692,296 and continue to climb (mycharitywater.org/rachels9thbirthday).
As a mother with two daughters, I was saddened at this family’s loss. This little girl must have had a big heart and a consciousness beyond her years to reach across the ocean in love to people she had never met. I asked, how can I raise daughters who understand that loving their neighbor includes not only the girl next door but also people far away?
Rachel’s actions were no doubt the result of exposure to a need combined with the opportunity and inspiration to make a difference. With God, one + one = much more than two. Remember the little boy with the loaves and fish?
How can we as moms best teach our children about opportunities to share? Perhaps if we point out organizations that are doing good in the world. Then encourage them to use their time, talents, and treasures to make a difference. A lemonade stand can raise money for charity. Kids can rake leaves or shovel snow. Performers can put on a benefit concert.
We don’t need to overburden them our children with complicated statistics and scenarios, but we can be purposeful and show the potential that we all have to help the poor. And, of course, we can tell them the story of Rachel. Those with child-like faith will respond. Not only will their actions help others, but they may inspire others to do the same.
“Just shows that whether you are on the Earth 9 years or 90, you can make a huge impact. God Bless.” – anonymous donor on Rachel’s website.