I've been on something of a mission lately to make sure Dulcie remains a decent human being. Like most four-year-old girls, she shows worrying signs of ingratitude, lack of empathy and covetousness. [DISCLAIMER: She IS lovely, I'm just frequently stressed at the thought I could destroy her inner goodness by poor parenting.] While chatting one night about children around the world who were not nearly as lucky as her, Dulcie's interest was aroused and she brought the subject up again a few times over the coming days. She started expressing a desire to help or cheer other children up, suggesting she could send a postcard to a homeless orphan in India. This was admittedly very sweet, but probably not the most effective strategy, however it did get me thinking. Maybe Dulcie (despite having no money and no real concept of money) could genuinely do good for others and feel proud of herself for doing it.
I decided it would be a good idea to start small, pick up on her idea of sending some friendly mail, seek out a girl of a similar age/demographic so that she might find it easier to empathise. A little bit of googling later and I discovered a fantastic UK-based charity called Post Pals. The basic idea is that children who are unwell/in hospital a lot of the time (and their siblings) can add their profiles to the site and people who want to cheer them up can send a letter/parcel to them via a third-party address. How simple and how good?! I figured this was the perfect charity for Dulcie to be involved with, as it was tangible and straightforward. I read through the profiles myself before showing them to Dulcie and steering her towards the children who sounded most like her. She decided to write to a little girl called Isla.
Dulcie dictated the letter to me and I wrote it down exactly as she said it, figuring she'd know better than me how to talk to a five-year-old My Little Pony fan! Here's what Dulcie wrote in her letter...
I don't know if you like pandas or not, but I have a toy baby panda and a mummy panda and a big-sister panda. I hope you feel better soon. When you feel better I wish you could come and play with me. And my name is Dulcie. I have two cats called Poppy and Lola who love me very much and cuddle me sometimes. My favourite colours are black, red, blue and pink and purple and I love vampires.
Lots of love from
P.S. I love My Little Pony too!
Eeep! I love it, especially the bare-faced lie about the cats loving and cuddling her. Ha-ha! She also drew a picture of Dracula being blown away in a cyclone like Dorothy's house (why not?!) and popped in loads of goodies from her collection of stickers, surprising me greatly with her generosity.
This was a really positive activity for Dulcie to do - she really enjoyed it, felt proud of herself and thought about things she wouldn't have considered otherwise. Hopefully Dulcie's letter put a smile on Isla's face too. Maybe you know someone who'd like to do something similar. You can find your own Post Pal here.