There is a time in childhood when each of us begins to notice the things that are wrong, or just don't fit into how we know the world should be. We feel small, though time rolls us unswervingly toward adulthood. It is in this time that it is crucial that an adult finds us in our fears and doubts. It is the time when hope and purpose must be reinforced above all else.
Our children attend a wonderful parent partnered school, which is a part of the local school district. We love having the balance it allows our family as home schoolers. We endeavor to learn all the things that are important to us at home, and are able to glean from the knowledge of many other wise people who teach classes there. Our oldest child is in a class called "Building a Better World," taught by a patient and inspiring teacher. The primary purpose of the class is to help the students to realize that they indeed can make a difference in the world. They learn about ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, simply by following their convictions, passions and interests. They learn of people like Rachel Carson, who woke up the United States to the dangers of pesticides and the powerful importance of balance in nature. They learn of Mother Teresa, who said "We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love." The children are reminded that something as simple as picking up litter or cleaning up a stream makes a significant difference to the wildlife that live in that area, as well as to the aesthetic beauty of that place.
To feel a sense of purpose and significance in their world is something that is vital to these sixth and seventh graders. It is an age when they are ready to learn how to be an active part of society. They are ready and willing to help. The culminating project for this class requires the students to choose a project that they feel they can implement now, in order to make a difference in their world. Many students chose nobly to clean up their surroundings. It will be a wonderful thing to see how each child's sense of place grows as the semester progresses.
Our daughter and her friend heard about the tsunami and earthquake in Japan and wanted to help. Both girls have a heart for Japan: our daughter because I grew up in Hawaii, where Japanese customs are part of every day culture, and her friend because she and her sisters are wonderful Manga artists. The girls, being creative and artistic, knew they could make something to sell, in order to raise funds to help the victims of the Japan disaster. They decided that this would be the way they could make a difference. Our daughter had recently learned to crochet, and her friend had crocheted a little, so they jumped right in, creating many crocheted Amigurumi. The Wikipedia definition of Amigurumi is thus- "The Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures." The girls had checked out the book Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet from the library, and wrote to the author, Ana Paula Rimoli, asking permission to use her patterns for their fundraiser, and she agreed. The girls have been busy for the past three weeks creating adorable little creatures that each hold a tiny Japanese flag, a memento to remind people to think of and pray for the people of Japan,
It is a beautiful thing to see children learn to look beyond their own homes into the big wide world, and then to watch as they grow by learning that their lives have a deep purpose and significance within that realm.
The girls have sold their creatures on Facebook and at our church, raising $265 so far. They are donating 100% of the proceeds of their sales to World Vision's relief work in Japan, since their aid goes primarily to help babies and children. Because they surpassed their original goal of $150 in aid, they are being ambitious, and hoping to raise $500 for Japan relief. If you would like to help their efforts, please make a donation to WorldVision.org, specifying that it is for Japan Tsunami and Earthquake relief. If you would like to see photos of their creations and would like to purchase some in order to benefit Japan, go to my Blog, www.BareFootMommy.blogspot.com and look for the post entitled Hearts for Hope Japan fundraiser, or go directly to the photos on picasa at: https://picasaweb.google.com/115294640577991738635/JapanFundraiser?authkey=Gv1sRgCPy2orrH_qCurwE&feat=directlink
Please understand that the creatures can only be made as fast as the girls' (and their mothers') fingers can crochet, but the girls are glad to take orders.