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Fathering and Child Sponsorship

Fathering and Child Sponsorship

For a number of years, our family has sponsored a child from Haiti. There are numerous reasons we have chosen to do so, and many of them come from my desire to be a good father.

What specifically has sponsorship taught me (and my children)?

I’m privileged to have been born in a country that has so much, and yet there are so many countries that have so little. It’s easy for me to part with a small portion of my overflowing bounty to help these who have so little. This is a good example for my children to see.

We tried to sponsor a child near the age of our children. We rightly assumed this would help our children relate. As a coincidence, our little Hattian boy had the same name as one of our boys. That tightened the bond.

Having a tangible face to connect to our lessons was invaluable. Clearly, we were helping the situation in Haiti, but we also had a face-with-a-name to use to teach our children more about life. Rather than just donating a sum to an organization, we had the opportunity to be personally connected to the situation.

Haiti wasn’t a country “out there somewhere,” it was where our “brother” lived. We learned more about Haiti—where it was, what caused their poverty, what some of the solutions might be, and so on.

Our sponsor child’s picture was (and is) posted on our fridge so we constantly remember him. We have included him in our prayers. This has helped our children have compassion. It has helped them understand the global picture. It has helped them come to terms with all the bounty they enjoy and sometimes take for granted.

It has even given them a higher appreciation for their schooling. One prevalent thing repeated in the literature from our sponsoring agency is the value and privilege it is for our “brother” to attend school. There are pictures and comments about how happy children are now that sponsorship allows them to attend school. That’s a far cry from the attitude of the average North-American student.

A family member once commented, “Why bother? With so much poverty in the world, what difference will your little bit make? The government should take care of it.  Save your money.”

I couldn’t disagree more. Often times, the very solution that comment requests—that the government should fix it—is the complete opposite of the dilemma. In fact, in many countries, the government is the cause of the problem, not the solution. There are millions of people suffering in poverty around the world. The numbers are almost too staggering to comprehend, but I can make a difference in one person’s life and in doing so, be a good example to my children.

As Helen Keller said, “I am only one. But still I am one. I cannot do everything. But still, I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Consider sponsoring a child. The benefits are enormous, and it’s a win-win situation for your family.

Aside: There are many organizations that offer child sponsorship programs. We did our homework, and, at the time, the Compassion Child Sponsorship Program was by far our best choice. We looked specifically at how much of our money would actually go to the child instead of overpaying employees and building elaborate HQ buildings. So be sure to do your research!

By: Dave Trouten is the married father of two teenage boys and a Division Chair & Professor of Communication at Kingswood University.

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