Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Education gives you a good life?

A couple of hours after his sixth birthday party, my older one started planning his next one. He wanted a "big" party at Pizza Hut; I have been trying to steer him towards something a little less extravagant. With barely three months to go before his Big Day, the topic came up again last night.
"Can I please have my birthday at Pizza Hut", he began, staring at me with a plaintive look in his eyes.
"Why don't we take a few of your really close friends out for an afternoon?", I asked.
"But it would be more fun to have a party at Pizza Hut", he argued.
"Wouldn't it be fun to spend an afternoon with your friends, and have lunch with them?", I asked, before adding. "We can even get you a Spiderman cake, if you wish."
That seemed to tilt the scales a little. "Okay", he said. "But why can't I have a party at Pizza Hut."
I debated for a second, before deciding this was as good a time as any other for a lesson in sharing. "Because, a big party at Pizza Hut is more expensive than an afternoon out with friends", I explained. "We can give all the money we save to some poor kid who needs it."
"But what will the kid do with the money?", he asked.
"Maybe his parents can use the money to send him to school. Then he will learn things, and when he grows up, he will have a good life."
"Will he really have a good life is he goes to school now", my son asked.
"Yes, of course", I replied. "Education is the key to everything. Now, the child is poor and doesn't have a good life. But after he gets an education, he will get a good job, and be able to earn money, and then he will have a good life."
He was silent for a few minutes. Then said, "Okay. I will have a smaller birthday party, and you can give the money to the kid's parents. But don't tell them I gave it, okay. Let it be a surprise."

I was so proud of my son, I nearly agreed to give him his party at Pizza Hut and also make a donation to an institution working to impart education, but contented myself by hugging him tight and telling him how proud I was of him.


Poverty is, perhaps, the biggest problem facing the world today- and Education is the most effective tool by which to fight poverty. Every child in a school, every adult literate- that should not have to be a distant dream. If every one of us is aware of the magnitude of the problem, and is willing to do our bit, we would be a little closer to the solution than we were yesterday.

Today, September 8, is International Literacy Day. Can you take a few minutes off to reflect on what literacy means to you, and if possible blog about it, to spread awareness. And if you can, could you also do your bit towards contributing to the education of a child? There are many organisations which allow you donate online. And even if you can't do either, do check out Burrowers, Books & Balderdash for some unbelievable statistics that Mari has put together on (the lack of) literacy.


21 comments:

ladyfi said...

Great post! Education is indeed the key to so much.

Trudy said...

I am continually amazed at the hearts your children have! Very sweet and such a great way to teach an important lesson. I hope he has fun at his party no matter what. Thanks for letting us know about International Literacy Day, I am going to do a post myself because it is a topic near and dear to my heart!

Have a blessed day Rayna!

Jules said...

Maybe you could compromise and have a pizza hut pizza for lunch at home? I'm beginning to really enjoy your children and their loving ways.

Today is my WOW day but I as I told another blogger, I already donate my used books to an Appalachian charity. :)

Wonderful post by the way!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Fiona - when you really come down to it, most things eventually come down to education.

@ Trudy- not to be cynical, but I would be more happy after they do it. I will do my best to make them go through with the plan, but would not want to force them. Charity should come from within.

@ Jules- I would probably take his closest friends out to lunch at Pizza Hut, instead of taking a whole lot of kids there for a party.

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - What a wonderful post! You've expressed so eloquently how important literacy is, and how easily it is taken for granted. Have you ever read Jonathan Kozol's work? He wrote a moving book about illiteracy in America, and I can remember being shocked when I read it because I just hadn't thought there could be that much illiteracy in what's supposed to be such a wealthy and educated country. But there is illiteracy everywhere.

And you really do have wonderful boys! If I ever meet your son, I owe him a Pizza Hut meal : ).

Mason Canyon said...

A wonderful post. You are indeed an amazing Mom as you have taught your sons to have such caring for others. I hope your son has a great birthday. Thanks for the reminder too that we should all be more appreciative of education.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Margot- thank you. The last organisation I was with, worked with kids, and I have seen first hand the difference an education makes. Not read Jonathan Kozol, but I will try to pick it up. Thanks for the recommendation.
And I will tell my kids to hold you to that promise ;-)

@ Mason- I am not sure if it is enough, but I guess all one can do is keep drumming in empathy as much as possible, and hope for the best. And amazing, I definitely am not :-(

Mary said...

Rayna - What a wonderful son! A very wise and humble little man.
Education is becoming a commodity of the rich. I see it in the children I work with. It's very difficult to earn when you are hungry -- no matter how much you want to.

Cruella Collett said...

I love your reasoning, Natasha. It is true that education is the key to a better world for so many people, and I am glad that we are both able to do a little bit to spread the word. Happy World Literacy Day :)

Clarissa Draper said...

They are trying to bring up the stats on literacy here in Mexico but it's hard because books cost money and money is something people don't have. There are also few libraries in the city of six million people.

CD

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Wonderful sentiment and Happy Birthday to your son.

Tina said...

Pizza Hut in India? That cracks me up since we used to have two, and one had to close because of bad business. Anyway...
I love how you're teaching your kids to be generous, and giving them an awareness of what others in our world might be facing. Way to go.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What a generous child your son is! And what an amazing mom you are to find a meaningful way to demonstrate to your child how to solve a problem that can seem overwhelming...bit by bit.

Deb and Barbara said...

I just want to eat your adorable boy up! How sweet is he?!

Great cause, btw. Literacy is a gateway to so much.

B

LTM said...

sweet little guy. These are important lessons we can start teaching them now! Even reading to/with our children teaches them how important literacy is. But I know your babies are being taught well~ :o)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your son is amazing. Must be his amazing mother.
I used to volunteer for a literacy program, teaching adults how to read. Scary how many here in the USA can't read above a third grade level.

slommler said...

A wonderful post and an awesome kid!! That is so cool that he "gets" it! Education is the key!! I totally agree!
Hugs
SueAnn

Helen Ginger said...

Both you and your son are simply wonderful. What a great lesson you taught him. Give him an extra hug from me.

Kittie Howard said...

Big applause for spotlighting such an important topic. Education is key!! But, also, big applause for you and your son. You are both treasures!!

Diandra said...

Yes, you can be proud of your son. I think you've been teaching him well. And I agree - even in "progressive" industrial countries, the lack even of literacy sometimes scares me.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mary- in an ideal world, I would have education for all. It should not be the preserve of the rich, but unfortunately is.

@ Cruella- thank you for reminding me of the day.

@ Clarissa- in India, just getting kids into schools and keeping them there is the challenge. When there are mouths to feed, who can afford the luxury of a person who doesn't earn his/ her keep?

@ Holly- the birthday is a few months off, and I do hope the message sinks in by then.

@ Tina- we have so many of them here, and most of them survive on the business from birthday parties. You need to book months in advance.

@ Elizabeth- I am still struggling to teach my kids that they are lucky they are in teh situation they are in, and they should start giving back.

@ Barbara- he doesn't even like being kissed. Not sure he will take too kindly to being eaten ;-)

@ Leigh - my older one has started reading, but the younger one is still a challenge.

@ Alex- we do take literacy for granted, don't we? And yet so many people just can't read.

@ SueAnn - education is the key to everything, isn;t it?

@ Helen- most days, I feel I am fighting a losing battle, but when I see how self centered the other kids in his class are, I feel I am doing a little bit right.

@ Kittie- uphill task, but having taken it on, I have to persevere.

@ Diandra- it is endemic, isn't it? And scary.

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