Children add a special *sparkle* to Christmas, don’t they? I loved watching the twinkle in Little Man’s eyes recently as he helped decorate the Christmas tree in “Poppa’s room.” He loved putting the brass ornaments and antlers and pheasant feathers on the woodland-theme tree.
I’ll admit it … and if you are kind enough to visit My Place very often, you already know: Children hold a special place in my heart. Their kindness and innocence and common sense are so refreshing … and I’ve always thought that the most important job I ever had was raising my daughters. I’m not a perfect parent (who is?), but I’m a darn good parent — and grandparent — and I take that role very seriously.
So where am I going with this? Well, you’re reading a post I’ve been writing in my head for the past few months. It’s one some of you aren’t going to like. You may not understand where I’m coming from. You may even get angry. I hope you’ll hear me out. I’m really struggling with something …
One morning while running errands, I turned on Hallerin Hilton Hill, a local radio talk show host in Knoxville. I like that I never know what topic he’s going to tackle … and that sometimes he’s pretty gutsy. Well, on this particular morning, he was asking the question: Are you a pet owner or a pet parent? I listened as caller after caller gave their answer. Suffice it to say that some of their responses I couldn’t stomach. I turned off the radio … but their words wouldn’t go away.
Now before you decide that I don’t like pets, let me show you something. This is Tigger. His ninth life ended last January, and I’ll admit that I’ve really missed seeing him snuggled under the Christmas tree this year. Our dogs were always outside pets … but this little guy often got special treatment. Usually because he demanded it!
When I put together dresses for the Wedding Closet project I told you about, he insisted on being right in the middle of everything …
He was lovable like that. When he died, I cried with the rest of the family … and I cried alone. But I did not lose a child; I was not his parent. He was our pet, and we were his owners …
Continuing to run my errands, with the talk show discussion still haunting me, I stopped by T. J. Maxx. (I know. Hard to believe, isn’t it?) Heading straight to the clearance section, I was enjoying myself immensely until …
With tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat, I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough. My mind was screaming, no, No, NO! Dogs ARE NOT children with fur! Pets ARE NOT children … no matter how much we love them.
When did pets stop being pets and become “children?”
Please … Scroll slowly through these pictures and LOOK at them. How did we let this happen?
Am I the only one who thinks there’s something really wrong here?
Slow down, please. Look …
Yeah, I know it’s Christmas, and this isn’t a very festive topic …
But the home where these pooches live will have a tree with presents … and a nice Christmas meal. They’ll even have stockings hung by the chimney with care. Won’t they?
… At what cost to the children?
These are real children.
They’re alone and hungry and exploited … while we sit back and act like they don’t exist.
This is NUTS! Did you know it’s estimated that Americans spent $47.7 BILLION on pets last year? In a similar time period, $60 billion was spent on weight loss (and just look how that fixed the U.S. obesity problem).
But what about the children? Surely we spent more to help them … Nice try. Bad news. We didn’t. The entire amount we gave to children’s charities was approximately 1/2 of what we spent on pets. In fact, last year just under $291 billion was given to ALL charities (and that includes animal charities).
It’s like our society is spinning out of control … and we’re failing our children.
What’s wrong with us?
Do we think if we just ignore the problem, it will go away? That if we ignore the next generation, we’re not responsible for what happens?
Oh, please don’t stop making contributions to children’s charities at Christmas! There are many wonderful organizations that depend on end-of-year gifts. I know we at Hope Unlimited for Children certainly do. In fact, we have to raise 40% of our entire budget during the last three months of the year.
But can you and I afford to let a holiday gift suffice as our valiant once-a-year effort on behalf of the “poor” children? Does that “take us off the hook” (or assuage our guilt) until next Christmas? What’s happening to our world’s children in the meantime?
I know the number of children who need us is overwhelming. Believe me, I do! But we must never forget that every one of those millions of children is a story yet to be told. Every one of those children needs someone like me … or you … to help them write Hope into their life story.
If the idea of “millions” overwhelms you and leads to inaction (aka doing nothing because you don’t think it will make a difference), then try this. Think ONE.
Think ONE … then do something about it …
ONE gift today to help ONE child.
ONE gift in January to help ONE child.
ONE gift in February to help ONE child.
I recently overheard an 82-year-old friend say, “It’s not easy to break a good habit.” Think about it …
I’m glad your pet has you as its owner because I’m sure you take good care of him.
Will you also you take my challenge?
- Whatever amount you spend on pets this Christmas — spend at least that amount on a needy child.
- In 2012, keep a record of all money you spend on your pets. Set aside (or go ahead and give) at least a like amount to a reputable children’s charity.
*No pet at your house? No problem! There’s still at least ONE child who needs you … Won’t you help make the difference for ONE child today?
Please choose your favorite children’s charity … or click on the link below and join me in supporting mine. The children need us all!
Join me for:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Blue Monday at Smiling Sally
Mosaic Monday at Little Red House
Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Child holding bowl
Child holding doll