One Proud Mama

Saturday, we will be celebrating B’s birthday with a gaggle of children and beloved family members. We will be playing, we will be laughing, we will be decorating cupcakes, we will be eating burgers fresh off the grill (and plenty of potato chips, too, after Wednesday’s chip-buying orgy of awesomeness).

We are not opening birthday gifts. That’s right. There is absolutely no gift opening orgy going on here. If all goes as planned, not one child will arrive with a gift in hand, and B will not tear into a stack of gifts with glee, and we will not try desperately to remember who gave her what in order to write out thank you cards that will inevitably go astray and probably not get delivered until sometime next February.

It is a gift-free birthday party, and I couldn’t be more proud.

A few years ago, I started blogging about a dear friend and neighbour who was busy teaching her children to change the world. Before I had the privilege of watching Sharon and her daughters change the world together, I would have told you that teaching children to change the world involves a lot of talking and explaining and forcing them to do things they don’t want to do.

It doesn’t. Helping Sharon with Catherine’s Pretty Ponytails and watching my kids get involved and help out and raise money and donate their own hair (and mine!) taught me that it doesn’t take talking to teach kids to change the world.

It turns out that you teach your kids to change the world by changing the world with your kids.

Last Christmas, one of my favourite bloggers/authors, Jen Yates over at CakeWrecks, decided that instead of gifts, she and her husband would donate to a different charity every day. Then they invited everyone who reads the blog to donate at least a dollar to each of their chosen charities, too. Charity:Water was their first charity, and we donated.

Fast forward a few months: Jen posted about the amazing results of everyone’s donations to Charity:Water, and the kids were astonished at how much CakeWrecks and their readers had been able to do. They read the post several times. They watched Charity:Water’s thank you video several times. They watched the video at the Charity:Water website several times.

And then B announced that she didn’t want any birthday gifts this year. Not one. She wanted everyone to take the money they would have spent on gifts for her and donate it to Charity:Water instead.

So that is what we are doing.

She has set a goal of $150, which she feels is attainable if each of her invitees donates $9 or more in honour of her 9th birthday, and which will allow Charity:Water to help 7 people gain access to fresh, clean, potable water. Personally, I think we can do better than that. I think we can do a whole lot better than that.

And I’m asking for your help. Help me teach my kids that they have the power to change the world.

We have set up a campaign web page on the Charity:Water website where you can make an online donation directly to Charity:Water in honour of B’s 9th birthday. Will you help her reach her target goal? Will you help me show her that not only can she reach her goal, she can surpass it?

Will you help me teach my kids to change the world by changing the world with my kids?

To make a donation directly to Charity:Water in honour of B’s 9th birthday, go to


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