The Secret to a Happy Life... We Live to Give! #GiftsOfHope


This post is part of the and Plan Canada Birthday Registry #GiftsOfHope sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

“To give is better than to receive.” 

That's not just a phrase my parents repeated over the last four decades of my life and one I’ve made sure is present in my children’s day-to-day lives... it's been proven by Scientists that our bodies react in a positive way when we give, it can be tracked biologically! It’s good for the spirit, soul and body.

My husband and I have exampled before our children the importance of helping others, giving back, and thinking beyond just us. As a family, we have financially and physically supported orphanages, medical clinics, schools and farms from northern Ontario, Canada to Guyana to Romania to South Africa for the last two decades. Our children have helped us raise money for these humanitarian trips by collecting bottles, taking part in car washes, bake sales and everything in between. In 2008 while my kids were 3, 5, 8, and nearly 10 - I took 20 teenagers for nearly a month to South Africa to work in the fields, paint houses, feed people and love on those we encountered. 

For us, giving back isn’t just a good idea that some day we will do. It’s not just suppertime discussions. We live it.

The summer before our oldest son turned 13, he spent two weeks working in orphanages in Lima, Peru. When he came home he did what I’ve always envisioned my children doing, and he did it on his own, without me telling him to do it. He saw a need and wanted to help fill it. He turned his 13th birthday party into a fundraiser for a local homeless shelter for teens and young adults. He didn’t want anything for himself. He just wanted to be a blessing to others.

When a few friends of mine asked why he wanted to do something like this, his simple answer, "... you get happy when you help make others happy". It brought him great joy to help others!

It didn’t surprise me that he wanted to do this, he has always thought of others first, it's an important family value for us. We firmly believe we aren't here on this earth just for ourselves. Although we can and should enjoy the journey ~ we were created for a greater purpose and that purpose involves helping others.

We feel we have discovered the secret to a happy life.

“We think we are unhappy because of what we don’t have. But we are unhappy because of what we are not giving.” ~ Marianne Williamson

My two youngest boys are now 8 and 11, and they are beginning to see the needs others have and realize they are blessed beyond measure. We can’t force them to do something before their hearts are ready, the impact won’t be the same.

So you can imagine my excitement when my youngest son, who turns 9 in August, came to me and suggested that for his next birthday party, he’d like to do something for others.

The conversation went something like this….

Jake: “Mom, I want to have a birthday party where the gifts are for other kids.”
Me: “So, you want your friends to bring items for the orphanage or shelter instead?”
Jake: “Yah, my friends can bring me toys and I want to give them away” and then after a short pause he adds, “well… can I have one gift and give the others away?”
Me: “Absolutely, that sounds great. How’d you like your friends to buy someone a goat?”
Jake: “We can buy someone a goat?!”

We hopped on Plan Canada’s website and I showed him their Gifts of Hope: Birthday Registry initiative, a great way for his party guests to help us, help others. His friends can buy gifts (or help purchase the goat(s) we’re looking at) via the registry, which will bring HUGE changes to the lives of children, families and possibly even entire villages in other parts of the world.

Personally, I love this idea; it’s better than adding to the pile of toys Jake hasn’t touched in months, k… years.

Best part for me, is being able to use my social media networks for social good, to help spread the word. So not only will those coming to Jake’s party be able to help families around the world… my friends from around the world can participate as well. 

Hmmmm, the world’s biggest give-back birthday party anyone?! ;) 

What do you say... 9 goats for Jacob's 9th birthday?!

Your next birthday party could make a world of difference for someone on the other side of the world. Celebrate your next birthday party in a unique way and teach your children about giving back by registering for Plan Canada’s Birthday Registry.

Simply invite your friends to purchase Gifts of Hope that are meaningful to you, and then enjoy your special day knowing that your birthday gifts will make a lasting difference in the lives of children.

Read these meaningful articles and learn how you can make your next birthday more unique and teach your children about giving back

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  1. What a wonderful son you have! Such a great idea!

  2. it was so inspirational post that you have shared.. it was so meaningful dear Shash..
    you got such a lovely boy. i think the "9 goats" present is lovely :)


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Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint! [Shannon Mischuk] (