A while ago I wrote about a small charity founded by Sarah Brown called PiggyBankKids and our plans to support them with a coin collection, after being inspired by the fabulous DorkyMum and Blog4Charity. Well, the summer is over, and we have a full jar of coins to send off to as our little contribution.
And it is little, I know that. I’d hazard a guess that it’s only £20 or so – because it’s mostly coppers, collected in a jam jar, by a five and three year old. At first I was a bit embarrassed by how little we’ve managed to collect ( especially during our time away from home on holiday, where we collected nothing) but I’ve been thinking this over for a while and I’ve changed my mind.
The whole experience has been about far more than collecting a little jar of money. It has had lots of bigger learning experiences for us all. Firstly, it has taught my daughter a bit more about money. Over the summer, she’s started getting pocket money of her own, and we’ve introduced to her the idea that we’re not actually made of money after all (far from it!) and if she wants to buy all the toys she likes, then she had better start saving that pocket money up. Learning about how much things cost, and the value of things – deciding if she really, really wants something, is the start of her learning to manage her money far better than I ever did. She also does a couple of little jobs to earn this money – just helping to tidy up and making her bed, but again, important lessons. Deciding how much to give her each week, to make sure that saving up for something doesn’t take so long the reward is lost, has been a good learning experience for me.
The other, equally important lesson has been that of charity. Learning a bit more about the wider world, about how other people and situations might need our help and how we can contribute to make things better, has been the main side effect of our little charity pot. We have talked about how some people are less fortunate than we are, and about how great it is that we can do a little bit to help make the world a better place. The fact that Eve knows and is very proud of being a premature and therefore tiny baby, means that she is very happy to help other little babies through PiggyBankKids. We’ve sponsored a child for a couple of years and now our daughter is old enough for us to start talking about him too, and what his life is like. Eve has also decided she’d like to sponsor a snow leopard, but I’m pretty convinced she’s been swayed by the cuddly toy – some things never change!
We’ll probably carry on collecting coppers in a jam jar too – it’s such a simple thing and one that the kids both enjoy and understand. And of course the next step is sending this collection off to PiggyBankKids and showing my children that the money they’ve collected matters and will help someone else. A valuable lesson from a little jam jar, and something that doesn’t feel so much like the end of our charitable giving as a family, but like the beginning.