April 25, 2009

Sending Shoes to Ethiopia

After our day without shoes we had a chat after dinner. I had been thinking about whether being shoeless for the day actually made any difference in any one's lives. Curious about what the kids were thinking, I started a conversation--a day without shoes debriefing... "So, we went without shoes for the day, but what came from it?"

Some blank stares, some thoughtful looks--then this reply from Elijah. "Welllll, we all got really dirty feet and Jojo got a splinter."

Yeah, I guess that sums it up pretty well. Kids are so literal. So I pressed a little more, wondering if they would come to the same conclusion that I had. "Right. Do more people in Ethiopia have shoes because we went without shoes for a day?"

All heads are shaking. Elijah, again, is ever so helpful, "Why don't we buy some TOMS shoes so that they can send one pair to Ethiopia?"

"Great idea, except I counted my shoes and I'm ashamed to admit that I have 44 pairs. So I don't really need another pair. And I'm pretty sure we could buy lots of shoes for the price of two pairs from TOMS. What else could we do?" I'm totally leading them, but want them to see where I'm coming from.

Lots of ideas including sending our extra shoes to Ethiopia and (from Eli again) eating only baked beans to save money. I latched onto the latter idea. Sort of. I've told the kids that if we ate less expensive food, we'd have more money to give away. Joking I once told them that if we ate rice and beans everyday we would save tons. Which is true. Eli loves baked beans so he put his spin on the money saving bean eating idea.

After further discussion we all agreed that we would start saving money by making better choices and doing extra chores. I will put the saved money into an envelope for shoes. I'm going to send the money to Jill's sister, Katy, who will buy shoes during her month in Ethiopia this summer. It seems, to me, to be the most efficient way to bless shoeless people in Ethiopia.

1 comment:

E said...

I was thinking the same thing: What does going barefoot actually DO. Nothing, really. The awareness argument could be made...color me dubious. I love that you're taking it to the next level. I'm asking for some TOMS for mother's day...I think. ;) But, I agree, lots more shoes could be bought using a different route.

Anyway, we did this rice bowl thing, Operation Rice Bowl, that we do every year during Lent. They offer solid guidance for all participants, but our priest came up with some great, very tangible ways that Eben (and the other kids in the parish) could participate and he came up with a cool schedule for them. Stuff like put a nickel in the bowl for every pair of shoes in the house or put a penny in for every toy. He had really practical suggestions like that for the whole of Lent. It really helped make that connection. I don't have a protester personality (not one to do something to raise awareness, etc), so I love things that break it down and make it real.