One School’s Idea
A school with which we are involved has made a multi-year commitment to support a correspondent school in Africa. The program enables students to experience a sense of self-efficacy that helping others can give, while, of course, benefiting students in the correspondent school. Research on educational best practices shows that knowledge application and learning with a purpose leads to learning that truly sticks.
Each year our local school has fund-raising events to meet the commitment. This year our school’s dining hall staff came up with a new idea, which we thought was excellent and reflects the authentic spirit of the holidays.
Instead of preparing the traditional holiday feast, the dining hall staff explained they could create a meal of beans, rice and cornbread for the students. This meal would closely approximate the typical meal of a student of similar age in the correspondent school in Africa. And by foregoing the traditional holiday feast, the dining hall could make a substantial contribution towards meeting the annual commitment of support.
With little debate, the dining hall staff’s idea was embraced and implemented. The students ate beans, rice and cornbread, and a significant contribution was made to the correspondent school.
Nothing Wrong with Copying a Good Idea
We bet that in home and school life, there are plenty of ways families could take similar steps and give a holiday gift that is true to the holiday spirit. For example:
- Your children’s school might be able to do the same thing. Cut back on a seasonal indulgence, and make a gift to a worthy organization.
- Implement this idea at home. We’re not suggesting forgoing the holiday family meal, but maybe there is an opportunity to make do with a bit less for ourselves, and to share a bit more with someone else.
- Many social and religious organizations sponsor holiday trees. Pick a card from the holiday tree, and take your family shopping to find gifts that meet the needs of others who could use a little help.
You probably have your own and better ideas for getting your school and family involved in holiday giving in ways the run counter to the overwhelming consumerism of the season, and true to the season’s authentic spirit.