Recently, a friend shared a story with me about a sweet and generous idea his daughter had for helping the children at the orphanage. As they were doing regular housecleaning tasks one day, she asked that he not come into her room for a while because she was going to prepare a surprise. Of course, his first thought was “she wants to surprise me with a great cleaning job”.
However, 30 minutes later the surprise was not at all what he expected. My friend’s child returned from her room with a transparent plastic box (which was the wrapper of a toy she has) with a note that was roughly glued to one side. The note said: “Please donate a penny for BOL”. She then told her father, “I thought this might help raise money for the children at the orphanage.” and she wanted to be the first one to donate from what she had received for her birthday.
After hearing my friends story, my mind begin to wander back through time to days of my childhood and the Sunday mornings when we (the children of the church) would march down the aisle between Sunday School and Worship service, carrying our loose change to give to the children’s home. This routine was called the Penny March and it made us feel so good! We knew that there were other children that did not have as much as we did, and knowing that our money was going to help them made us feel special. I can’t say for certain, but just maybe that was part of what has instilled in me the understanding that God has blessed me to bless others.
This was something I tried to instill in my children growing up, and I am glad to say, I think they got it! Now I have small grandchildren, and I pray that they too will learn this truth. Maybe I’m just being a little sentimental now; then again, maybe it’s time we get back to the basics, teaching our children that it is indeed more blessed to give than receive. God’s word instructs us to care for the widows and orphans, and Jesus spoke of us having the poor with us and taught the early church to care for them.
Maybe you remember the penny marches, or maybe this is the first you have heard of such a thing. But the lesson they contained was timeless. It’s never too late to learn and it’s never too late to give. Let’s get back to the basics. Maybe your children or your church could start your own tradition with an updated version of the penny march, all the while teaching this young generation the blessing of giving.
Oh, and the end of the story. My friend’s daughter raised over $300 in one month for the children at the orphanage. Isn’t that just like God, using the children to remind us older folks what it’s really all about.