It's probably fairly safe to say that if you've gotten so far as to open my blog, you likely have an idea of why Child Sponsorship is important. You may know some of the facts, or you're just generally aware of the vast disparities in quality of life around the globe. You may even have some internal gnawing that nudges you toward action. If that's the case, then I don't need to tell you the statistics and logistics of Child Sponsorship. I don't need to tell you why you should sponsor a child.
What I do feel an need to share is why my family has chosen to sponsor children. I make this distinction because Child Sponsorship is a commitment that people often enter into for very personal and important reasons. Though the what and the how are similar, the why is unique to you. And to us.
At the core, my wife and I sponsor two little boys, Victor and Omar, because we couldn't justify reserving the blessings in our lives for ourselves.
When our first son was still very young, we agreed that if we could afford to comfortably feed and shelter and protect and comfort a child of our own, then we needed to make room in our lives to afford the same for another child - a child who wasn't born into the fortunate circumstances that our son enjoys. And when we sat down together at our first World Vision sponsorship event, we were presented with the opportunity to enter into a relationship with a little boy from Kenya, who happened, by chance, to be the same age as our little boy.
And when we brought our second son into the world, we knew we needed to find room in our hearts and our budget for another little boy in Kenya.
What I want to stress here is that Child Sponsorship may not be easy. It's a financial commitment. That said, if you find you are able to part with $39 a month without a second thought, then maybe the better question is "why not sponsor a child?" As for the rest of us, I'll tell you how Sam and I feel about the financial commitment: we can't reconcile placing what we would consider excess comfort over the well-being of a child. Now, this isn't a statement intended to judge. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the bountiful pleasures of convenience and entertainment afforded to our society. I have cable TV, broadband internet, a car; we frequently enjoy dinners out as a family, and I don't think twice about buying a cup of coffee. But there have been times that our family has needed to scale back on certain services or pleasures so as to prioritize our spending on what we value most. And I tell you right now, if I were ever faced with the decision of continuing to sponsor our two boys, Victor and Omar, or keeping our broadband internet service, I would throw out our modem. Because I wouldn't be able to reconcile for myself the idea of enjoying those benefits and not also supporting those two boys who need us. Of course we can't support all the children, but we have decided what makes sense for our family, and we have made that our priority.
So that's what brought us to Child Sponsorship. And we would continue on even if there was no other benefit for us - but there is! Trying to do our best by the two little boys that make up our own family, Child Sponsorship affords us an invaluable opportunity to teach them compassion, generosity and social justice in a way that can only be demonstrated through action. We get to talk about how Victor and Omar live, what challenges they face, and how we can help them - but also about how similar they are to our own boys, how they love to do some of the same things, how they have the same needs and the same hopes. The boys help us pick out gifts, write letters, and pray for their well-being. And while even our oldest has absolutely no context for how far away or how different Kenya is from our own country (he's still trying to figure out what a country even is), he does understand that Victor is very much like him, just without the fortunate circumstances of a 1st world upbringing.
As I said, the why of Child Sponsorship can be very personal. Some decide to sponsor to expand their experience of family, others sponsor in the memory of someone they lost, still others simply because someone asked them to. But no matter the why, I challenge you to ask yourself if you can afford not to sponsor a child. There is so much staggering need out there, it can be utterly overwhelming. But to that one child you choose to support, your decision makes a world of difference.
If you have any questions about Child Sponsorship, don't hesitate to reach out to me directly. And if you're ready to take the next step, go find the right kid to capture your heart for years to come.