“Poor Samuel” and what we teach our kids about charity

I was sitting at home in my bedroom recliner pondering a few deep feelings from the week. My youngest, Libbie, wandered in and sprawled on the bed. As the chattiest of our children, she was longing for a conversation. And, when she longs for a conversation, a conversation will happen whether you are ready for it or not.

She looked me in the eyes and said, “Daddy, I feel sad for Samuel. Poor Samuel.”

I was confused. “Samuel who?”

“You know Samuel,” she said.

“I do?”

“Yes. I feel sorry for Samuel, cuz he doesn’t have a house like us.”

“I still don’t know who you’re talking about, baby,” I said.

“We pray about him not having a house every night. And we give him money,” she replied.

Suddenly, I knew who she was thinking about.

If you read my blog, you realize by now that our family places a great deal of attention on raising responsible children. Generous children. Children who realize that we make money to live; we don’t live to make money.

Much of our philosophy in life is rooted in our faith. We give to causes dear to us. While I am politically minded, we don’t give to political parties. Instead, we give to charities doing good work, and we strive to be mindful of others through our actions.

For years, we have supported an organization called Samuel’s House.

(We’ll get back to Libbie’s story in a moment.)

Samuel’s House is a children’s home located southeast of Caracas, Venezuela. It provides a loving, Christ-centered, home to at-risk children. The Venezuelan government considers over 6,000,000 children to be “at-risk” country-wide. More than 5,000 children under the age of 9 call the streets of Caracas home.

One of the things that captured our hearts about Samuel’s House was that they had a working farm. They taught kids to work the land. They sustained themselves. And, they sold the rest to help support their operations.

When we first heard of Samuel’s House, they allowed visitors to come for a season to learn, help work the land, and physically contribute to the operation. We discussed at that time the idea of one day taking our children there on a brief trip so that they could help physically.

But, if you follow the news, you know of the turmoil in Venezuela. You know that many people had to begin fleeing the country. You know that inflation has been out of control; many can’t afford food or other necessities; people began stealing livestock from farms to feed their families, etc.

And so, we give financially.

(Back to Libbie’s story…)

As long as Libbie can remember, our nightly prayers have included a request for God to help Samuel’s House and provide for their physical and spiritual needs.

Tonight — I had a funny reminder how children internalize or hear things differently. It is one part illustration of how simple miscommunication occurs, and one part uber-cute anecdote about a kid who is experiencing an empathic awakening.

“Poor Samuel” who doesn’t have a house.

Her whole life, she thought we were giving to and praying for a boy named Samuel who didn’t have a house.

And, in a strange way, she was right.

Somewhere among those 6,000,000 at-risk kids and those 5,000 children under 9 who are homeless, I’m certain there is a Samuel. And I’m certain he needs your help.

If you share our desire in teaching kids to be charitable with their thoughts, time and money, consider giving to Samuel’s House, Food for the Hungry, or any other charity with low overhead where the money can go directly to helping those in need.

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