We're two days in -- how many New Year's resolutions have you already snapped in two? At the start of our calendar year there's a lot of pressure to "be a better person," which usually means "look like a better person." We propose an alternative that is scientifically proven to make you better: resolve to make the world a better place. Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
There's something families can do together to start 2013 on the right foot. It's a New Year's "tithe." The concept of tithing, the setting aside of one-tenth of our earnings for a purpose other than our own use, is thousands of years old. This January, instead of a list of resolutions that you may not keep, why not consider a New Year's legacy?
This Christmas was to have been extra special for us with the birth of our first grandchild last April. He/she would have been eight months old. I was with my son and his wife when the baby was lost to us all. But we got the news last week that our World Vision foster child who's name is Ankita. And so this Christmas, we have been given the gift of a child.
Last March I had the privilege of co-founding Skate To Great out of a conversation I had with a friend about how every kid should have the opportunity to skate in Canada. I've learnt a lot along the way. The idea, bring industry bodies in hockey and skating together with children's charities and corporate partners so regardless of economic or physical circumstances, any kid who wants the opportunity to skate, gets it.
About five years ago, I really did start saying 'NO' to knick-knacks -- not only getting them, but giving them as well. That was the Christmas I discovered World Vision Gifts. They loved the goats, clothing and medical supplies which were donated on their behalf to needy families overseas. I won't be giving things for Christmas -- I'll be giving hope.
In the Christmas story, three wise men journeyed over great distances to bring gifts to a child. Meet three caring Canadian celebrities -- Colin Mochrie, Rick Campanelli and Tyler Medeiros -- who have dropped everything to travel overseas with World Vision Canada, using their fame to bring hope to millions of children around the world.
Empathy is part of our anatomy. It's just that, like a muscle, it needs to be flexed. What this means is that we are wired for compassion, for caring, for connection. As children scratch out long holiday wish lists, parents have an unparalleled opportunity for empathy training. This time of year provides tremendous teaching moments. Here are a few:
Now, I give a lot of money and a lot of time to charitable causes. Yet many times I find myself dressed up and wondering "Just who/what am I raising money for tonight?" But if you give without thought, without conviction, without understanding what you can REALLY do to help, what are you really giving?
A poll for World Vision Canada indicates that 63 per cent of Canadians plan on giving to charity this holiday season. But many also want to buy gifts for loved ones. Learn how you can do both at the same time -- even with limited funds. This tough global economy is one of the reasons why so many children around the world need help this holiday season.
Driving home from dinner last fall, my sister-in-law Jessica told me about her mother's holiday shoebox drive. For many years, Veronica has been asking her friends in Montreal to fill a shoebox with small gift items, which she collects and delivers to a women's shelter. Jessica wanted to do the same thing in Toronto for the Red Door Family Shelter and I immediately offered to get involved.
As a city-dwelling lifestyle journalist, I tend to write about high-end spa treatments and the like. So when my editor at Chatelaine asked if I knew anyone who would travel to Mali in West Africa to write about the food crisis there, I was as surprised as she was to hear the words "I'll go." My time there changed the way I think about charitable giving. Mali is plagued with misfortune and desperately needs our help.