The gratitude project: Water

September 20, 2011

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Yesterday I shared my heart on the topic of gratitude and my desire to help our children gain a greater sense of appreciation for the many ways that they are blessed and provide opportunities for them to bless others.

My plan is to intentionally focus our attention as a family to areas of our life that we can appreciate and ways that we can reach out to help those who are in need.  What better place to begin than with one of life’s most basic needs: water.

Did you know:
-Almost every 7 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness.
-2.5 billion people have inadequate or nonexistent access to proper sanitation.
-When a community gains access to clean water, improved sanitation, and basic hygiene information, its child mortality rate drops by half. (source)

Sharing this reality with our kids:
I will be honest, it is very difficult for me to wrap my brain around the statistics mentioned above.  So in trying to figure out how to bring home the concept that clean water is a true crisis, I turned to video. Each of the four videos below offer a different view of the same picture: much of the world is living without clean water.

This first water video explains the water crisis in an animated way that is both simple and straightforward while still being powerful and effective.  Appropriate for all ages.  It is 3:23 min long.

The second water video is from World Vision and provides a lot of the same information as the first video but provides images of people that put faces to the tragedy.  Appropriate for all ages (length is 3:10 min)

The third water video (also from World Vision) is short (1:22 min) but provides a powerful visual for the reality of what living with contaminated water would look like for us in North America.  Appropriate for all ages.

The last water video (from Compassion) is a great one to end on as it shows the story of a girl who goes to get water from the local water hole, fills her 5 gallon bucket, goes home and then uses a water filter provided by Compassion international to make it clean to drink (4:42 min).  Appropriate for all ages.

Hunter and Ashlyn were deeply impacted by what they saw in the videos above.  They asked to watch them again and again and afterward they both responded by asking what they could do to help.  Their ideas ranged from bringing clean water from our home to digging a trench of clean water to those who need it :) .  Together we were able to develop a goal to earn enough money needed ($200) to purchase a foot-powered water pump.  Realizing that earning $200 by doing household chores was going to take too long, we came up with a plan on how to combine our gifts and talents to reach our goal faster (more on that tomorrow).

Making it personal:

-Be thankful: Post a reminder note or memory verse on your water pitcher, fridge door or near your sink to be thankful for clean, safe water.
For help for those who are in need of clean water.  For the people who are bringing help to those in need.  For ideas on how to be a help.  For a thankful heart to appreciate our water.
-Conserve: Find practical ways to value water by conserving and not being wasteful of the water we have (i.e. Turning off the facet while you brush your teeth.  Use left over water for plants.  Only run the dishwasher when full).  For 100 ideas on how to conserve water, visit here.
-Give: You can go to the bottom of the Charity Water page here for ways to help.  You can also visit the World Vision website or Compassion International’s website or Living Water International or Samaritan’s Purse website for options on how to give toward water filters, clean water pumps, wells and purification options.
-Share: Encourage your child to share what they have learned with family and friends.  Raise awareness by posting a link from your blog or facebook page to this page or one of the videos you found to be helpful.  Leave a comment below on additional thoughts, ideas or resources that would be helpful on this topic.

TOMORROW I will share how our family decided to respond to this need in a personal way to help raise awareness and funds.  You will be invited to join in with us so please check back to find out more!

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42

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