At 5:50 this morning my eight-year-old daughter was standing at the side of my bed, whining to me that she was “starving”. I stumbled downstairs with her, half awake, thinking to myself that she would not do well in Somalia. After fixing her a bowl of oatmeal, I opened my laptop on the counter, and still feeling frustrated with her dramatics, said, “This is what starving really looks like.” As she ate her breakfast, we watched the news video of Somalian refugees fleeing drought and famine to find food in neighboring Kenyan and Ethiopian refugee camps. Some of the children in the video had been walking barefoot for weeks. She stared at my face intently as I started to cry, and then looked back to the screen at the parade of children literally starving to death. Some had not made it. Like so many “mommy moves,” I am not sure if it had been the right thing to do. It was a bit drastic perhaps, but these days I guiltily scrape scraps of food from our dinner plates into the trash as I wonder how to help my kids understand. My daughter is an active, and slim child who could eat all day. She probably did wake up with her stomach growling, but in our home with a brimming pantry, and full refrigerator, she has no concept of what it truly means to be hungry. To watch the images of suffering gives me a sense of helplessness, but organizations like World Food Program, UNICEF, Save The Children and SaveOne, get money donated as directly as possible to those in need. By donating to them, I feel I’ve at least done something other than sitting by and idly watching this tragedy unfold.
Do any of you know of other ways to help? What are ways that we as parents can help our children understand what is going on in the world and how lucky we are to live in this country?