News: What do we need at Christmas?

I am wondering what to get the kids for Christmas. My kids are aged 14 – 29 so you can guess that technology figures high on the list. Smart phones, computers, gaming consoles and the like seem to be the go, but how much is a reasonable spend?

How do we measure “reasonable” when it comes to our own? We would give them anything despite knowing it might be excessive. I know that without another thing they really do have the resources to realise a full life.

Recently I arrived to pick up my young son from a friend’s 14th birthday party and they were still waiting to get into a second round of Laser Skirmish after finishing their ten pin bowls. I got chatting to the birthday boy’s father about the simple things that amused us as kids, and the home-made wheels on the end of sticks that seem to keep kids universally amused, or at least in the countries in which Palms’ volunteers are working. You know how it goes; we decided our kids were no happier than those involved in the simple pursuit of attaching jar lids to a stick and pushing it around in the dirt.

We reflected that kids’ having to create their own play equipment is much more fulfilling than just playing the computer game that someone else has created. At this point my older gaming son was in my mind, pointing out the many capacities that are developed through computer games and suggesting that determining comparative fulfilment might require some scientific measurement. With ten years of education studying social science, journalism and law and the odd computer game, he usually wins these arguments.

And that is the difference between the opportunities our children have compared to the kids who are pushing around the jam jar lids on the end of sticks. My kids were born in well-equipped hospitals, have received vaccinations to ensure on-going health, attended well-resourced schools and I was able to commit to feed, clothe and shelter them comfortably while they undertook university studies. How do we reconcile the different opportunities?

Maybe there’s an opportunity to make Christmas not just about the luck of where the kids were born.

I know families who want to give their kids health and have seen communities who have a clinic where some young women have been trained in preventative health care. They have requested a Palms volunteer nurse to assist train health workers in their community.

I know families who want to give their kids a good education, but there are no experienced teachers in their school. The school has requested a Palms volunteer teacher who can teach as well as mentor members of the teaching staff in more effective teaching methodology. Such families exist in all of the countries we send volunteers.

If I could convince all Palms Post readers to match the value of the gifts we give our family and friends and the cost of our own celebrations, with a gift to assist requesting communities host a volunteer, I could probably send an extra 100 volunteers. 100 volunteers would each contribute $70,000 (what we pay for them in Australia) worth of educational or health services and provide the training requested to make an extraordinary difference to thousands of lives for many years to come.

Last Palms Post, we enclosed a dinner invitation instead of a donation form so our donations are down. Please be generous this Christmas.

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Tax Deductible?
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About your donation

Upon clicking “Donate”, you will be forwarded to an external site, hosted by Paypal, to securely transmit your credit card or paypal account details. Please check the form on the next page to confirm the transaction details are correct. In this instance, Palms Australia does not handle your credit card details but will receive notification of your address.

In the event Palms Australia raises monies in excess of the amount needed for a given placement, donations made towards this placement will be used for placements with similar development outcomes. For more information contact Palms Australia.

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True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice. - Martin Luther King Jr