Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Skunk Cabbage

  “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” author L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables series author)
Eastern skunk cabbage
 Sometime between today and Thursday I will sit down and write to my sponsored children. I make a point to do this bi-weekly, which may be a little frequent for some of my younger children, but I try to keep my letters to them short and sweet anyhow, given that as the mother of a toddler I know they don't have the longest attention span.

Whether you've sponsored for a decade or a day, letter writing can be a challenge. Internet tools provided by Compassion and countless blogs before this one have made it much easier to come up with ideas, but it can still be a daunting task to write to someone worlds away from you not only in terms of physical distance, but in age and spiritual growth.

What I write about depends, much like this blog, on what grips me on that particular day. There are things about each of my children that stir my heart in different ways. But, more than anything else, I encourage them. Who knows if they care about the national parks in the United States, or what my son did in school today? But they certainly care that someone seemingly a million miles away has taken time to write to them, to maybe send some stickers or a photograph, and to let them know that they matter.

In fact, the cornerstone of Compassion's child sponsorship program is the relationship between Sponsor and child. Even if you never hear from your child, you could be influencing them in an important way. I remember telling my son not too long ago that words are very important and very powerful. I don't recall the context, but I do recall his little face wrinkling up in laughter at how silly that sounded. But it is true. The Bible says so in at least 147 verses. Our words have the power to shape lives, to shape the future, to mold minds and careers and dreams and ambitions. Our encouraging words are sweet-smelling roses in the hands of our little ones across the globe.

What words will you speak into the lives of your Compassion kids (or any other child you are blessed to encounter) today? Sometimes it's hard to come up with something NEW to say after 40 letters, when you're trying to remember what you said last week or month or 3 months ago. Here's a list of possibilities for sending a rose of encouragement to a child you may not know too well:
  • I/we love you.
  • I/we are praying for you.
  • Jesus loves you.
  • Our church is praying for you.
  • We hung your picture on our wall with the rest of our family!
  • We talk about you during the day and what you might be doing!
  • You worked really hard on the last letter you sent me, I can tell!
  • I love getting letters from you--you are learning so much!
  • I love hearing about your life.
  • I love hearing about your family/church
  • Your drawings on your letters are really fun for us to see!
  • Thank you for writing to me/send me a drawing-it was really special to me!
  • I am so proud to be your sponsor!
  • I really appreciate our relationship
  • I am looking forward to getting to know you over time
  • Your country/family/villiage/center looks very unique/beautiful/interesting
  • You are beautiful to Jesus!
  • You are so unique! There is no one else like you!
  • Jesus knows everything about you, he has all the hairs on your head numbered!
  • You are important to me.
  • You are important to Jesus.
  • You have a very special purpose.
  • Jesus has great plans for your life!
  • Don't ever give up.
  • You seem so resourceful!
Remember--your words are so important! I know many "seasoned" sponsors have spoken these words of encouragement and many, many more into the lives of many children over the years. I would love to hear how you encourage your sponsored children (or even your biological children!) through a thoughtful word.


  1. I like all the ideas!! I'll come here if I am in need for encouraging thoughts. I really enjoy the "My Dreams" templates and I try to share with the kids that I'm praying for their dreams to come true. And I also share that I am proud of them for their successes that they write about--in sports, school, helping around the house, character growth, or whatever else! And I make a point to praise their artwork. Thanks!!

    1. Those ideas sound great Hannah! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Even though your letters to your little ones might not be fully understood yet, they will reread the letters when they are older. I have heard sponsored children say that when they've had a bad day, they go home and read all their sponsor's letters (or at least some of them!).

    I personally cannot stress how important "I am proud of you" is. Recently in my life, I have noticed how much I would love my parents to say it to me. I know they love me, but hearing I am so proud of you would make me feel really happy. Especially when your child does not succeed, those words would be such an encouragement!

    I heard that one sponsor told her sponsored child that the sponsor's child took the sponsored child's picture off of the fridge and kissed it. The sponsored child said that really touched her.

    Sorry for such a long comment. Great post!! :)

    1. Lizzie thank you for sharing your heart! Sometimes as parents I think we assume our kids know how great we think they are--we tend to tell everyone else how proud we are of then but we forget to tell them!!! I know your parents must be exceptionally proud of you, but I know ileven if you know that is true it's still nice to hear it!