Our family sponsors two children with Compassion International.
It isn’t exactly a curriculum, but my family is receiving an education through it.
The educational benefits are numerous:
1. Geography becomes a real, living subject rather than a flat, oddly shaped spot on a globe. Someone lives there! Someone who writes you letters! You send letters back! Geography lives.
2. The study of geography extends to cultural study, based on a real person, a child, just like your child. Although this picture may emerge slowly, it is, at its base, more real than any book could portray.
3. Financial stewardship and generous giving become a reality in your family. This giving is not just for adults. Children must see giving in action to understand it. Sponsorship allows for that. Beyond sending the money, writing letters and daily praying for the child(ren) that you sponsor teaches a true concern for the welfare of those that you serve with your finances. Giving becomes a family affair, one that is more than lip service or check-writing.
4. Writing skills are honed through the exchange of letters between children. Even if the adult acts as an intermediary, parent and child can write the sponsored child together. In sharing details of life through writing, children learn how to share themselves in their writing.
5. Humility and discipline are brought to the forefront when sponsored children share their experiences. The kids that we sponsor are poor, poorer than we can really understand, but their gratitude, humility, and commitment to disciplined living shine a light into our lives.
6. Family prayer has an outward focus. We pray daily for our sponsored children. Do you think that I remember to pray for them every day? Hardly. My eight, six, and four-year old are on the ball, though. It is a beautiful thing when children pray for each other.
7. The fabric of the body of Christ is woven in a tangible way. Even my youngsters can understand that through our prayers, service, and love we are connected to people on other continents. This is the kingdom of God and it is alive.
There are so many reasons to use our wealth to sponsor children of poverty. In light of the extreme circumstances of the children served through programs like Compassion International, it seems selfish to list the ways that sponsorship benefits me. In my experience, though, God is a God of double blessing: He uses relationships to bless those who receive and those who give. The reasons listed above may not be the primary reasons to become a giver, but they are a part of the blessing of sharing with others and a sign of God’s goodness and love for all.
Perhaps sponsorship seems insufficient, even paltry, due to the distance between your money and the very real difficulties of the children. A few minutes spent perusing the websites of organizations that create child sponsorships quickly reveal that the help is as real as the need. Compassion and groups like them have become adept at creating a cycle of giving that truly helps children and families.
Sponsorship makes a life for children of poverty in a way that empowers families. It is real and lovely.
And as an added bonus for the homeschooling family, it is an education.
Susan is a homeschooling mom of three—a preschooler, a first grader, and a third grader. They spend their days reading on the couch, playing with numbers, and making big, fun messes in a Spirit-led, Well-Trained Mind-inspired classical-Charlotte Mason-traditional model of home education.