I did find some places where our life and giving are merged, as in selfish giving, but I also found it in our weekly grocery purchases. I felt proud to show her the companies that give part of their profits back to organizations and non-profits that benefit our communities and world. One of the products we discussed, and that Zoe likes, is 505 Southwestern salsa. On the side of every bottle: “Flagship Food Group, LLC, will donate a minimum of $100,000 to Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) from May 1, 2013 through April 1, 2014, contributing 1% of the purchase price of this product. Visit woundedwarriorproject.org”
We talked about products like Newman’s Own (donating 100% of their profits to various charities and non-profits)that are environmentally-conscious and contribute to making the world a better place. Being a conscious consumer is a necessary survival skill in a capitalist society, but it also allows us to sponsor products and companies with business practices that we admire. (I say this without my full enthusiasm since we all participate in purchasing some products created by workers making extremely low wages or working in bad conditions–that leads to more questions from my daughter.) I have been crestfallen when having to explain many of the conditions in our world.
I always spin it into a positive direction by showing her examples of people, products, and companies that consider conservation and try to better the world. This card company, Skyflight Mobile, is one of my favorites for providing information about birds native to the U.S.
I explained how important it is to care for our natural areas and wildlife–that is service to the earth and the future people and animals who will live here. I told her about the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. These are free events to help the Audubon society with bird counts: “All Christmas Bird Counts are conducted between December 14 to January 5 inclusive dates each season. Your local count will occur on one day between those dates. Participate in as many counts as you want!” Open to families and new bird enthusiasts, as well as experienced birders. She was curious and said that she’d like to maybe pariticipate next year, but this year, she already has plans.
Yesterday, on the 31st, our act of service was dropping off the Christmas tree so that it can be turned into mulch for the trails at the park where we are always overjoyed to hear and/or see the owls, cedar waxwings, great blue heron, the sparrow hawk, kingfisher, pileated woodpeckers, and our many bird neighbors.
On this first day of the year, after 30 days of taking a close look and participating in a variety of service activities, this project was a wonderful way to show Zoe different ways to give and the wide range of feelings confronted during the process of giving.