My daughter threw a huge tantrum over dinner the other night. An out of control, screaming, monumental tantrum. I did what any tired over-wrought parent would do, and screamed back. I know. It was over food. You know, healthy nutritious food I had lovingly cooked that was delicious as well. She hated it. Made it oh so clear it was truly the most horrid meal of her entire life and how could I cook such garbage.
In my not finest parenting moment, I stepped right into the “don’t you know there’s a famine in the Horn of Africa right now?” With echoes of my own parents in my head from conversations past and an Irma Bombeck chapter I am sure I read a lifetime ago, I found myself in a state of intense lecturing and guilt mongering. We got absolutely nowhere.
But blessed be modern times! We got through said disaster of a meal and everyone calmed down a bit before turning to those trusty internets to help us out. My (usually) tender hearted girl was able have a long chat with me about what exactly is going on in the Horn of Africa. We turned to UNICEF and USAID/fwd for some footage that was age appropriate for her and were then able to have a rich conversation afterwards. My older daughter joined us and by the end of the evening they had pledged their charity budgets and some Christmas money to the Horn Relief program.
My girls and I got where we needed to in the end, amid tears and hugs and frank conversation that shattered some dreams and built new ones.
This whole parenting thing is the hardest gig I’ve ever had in my life. That I do it in a place of such privilege and resources is at times hard to grasp. But I am grateful today for two young girls who are on their learning journey and have much to teach me yet about living lives of contribution and service.
They are ready to see and feel and empathize more and I cannot hold them back from understanding (carefully) some of what we’re up against in the world right now.
What has worked with the children in your life (and maybe what hasn’t) as you tackle the world’s big issues at young ages? How have you navigated these tougher conversations. Please share so I can learn from you!
This month I have the opportunity to work for the ABC Million Moms Challenge campaign as a Community Leader. We have just a few weeks left to meet our goal of 100,000 signatures to help mothers and children around the globe. Why 100,000? Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 per person up to $100,000 to the cause.
I urge you to join this campaign. I believe it can truly go somewhere as we connect more deeply with our sisters throughout the world. Like the Million Moms Challenge on Facebook. Join the Twitter campaign following @amillionmoms or using the #amillionmoms twitter hashtag. Share on your own Facebook page and invite your friends to join partners like AMREF, the United Nations Foundation, Every Mother Counts, the Shot@Life campaign and the White Ribbon Alliance. Please act now — sign up to learn more and be of service.
Image Credit: iStockphoto.com Disclosure: The Million Moms Challenge is my client for whom I have undertaken unpaid and paid work. The majority of my small fee for research and writing work this month will be donated to the organizations listed in this post in support of my daughters' efforts.