I don’t have children of my own, but I do have two nieces and a nephew. I love being an aunty; it’s the best gig in the world. I also love sponsoring a child, and I actually think in some ways they’re pretty similar.
1. It’s about the relationship, not the day-to-day
As an aunty, I don’t have to worry about schedules, packing lunches and getting the kids out the door to church on time. Instead, I get to spend more time on my relationship with them. I can focus my conversation on things that excite my nephews and nieces—like soccer, school and friends. Between visits, we’re writing letters, because what child doesn’t love getting a letter addressed just to them!
I’ve found that being connected to Ayu in Indonesia as her sponsor is similar. I ask questions to build our relationship, and follow up on things she’s told me in letters past. I send her letters and photos with insight into my life because I want her to know I’m interested in her as she grows.
2. I’m an adult who cares
My nieces and nephews love spending time with their aunty because I’m an adult who is constant, invested and trusted—who isn’t their mum or dad. I remember the time my niece fell and scraped her knee and she came running to me for comfort. That moment made me realise that in her world I was someone she could trust to help her.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit sponsored children. Many had photos of their sponsor on their wall; adults on the other side of the world who care about them and are investing into their lives. It makes a massive difference to a child’s development to know there are adults who know them by name and see their potential.
3. I have time to give
The best thing I can give my nieces and nephew is time. Having a sleep over at their aunty’s house and having breakfast by the beach is the BIGGEST deal to them, and I love to take the time to make those memories. I can give them awesome birthday gifts, but these three little people much prefer it if I take the time to sit with them over a babycino and simply hang out with them. I’m in a position where I can do that at the moment and I consider myself lucky.
I feel the same way about Ayu. Occasionally I’ll give a little extra as a gift for her whole family, but sitting down and writing her a letter is the most valuable way for me to spend time with her. I imagine seeing her face light up when she receives my letter. What a privilege it is that I can be a part of those smiles.
These are just some of the ways being an aunty has helped me become a more engaged sponsor and I’m sure these tips would work for you!
Words by Berlinda Fortin