It is quite hard to answer such a question in a truly satisfying 5-year-old way but I did the best I could explaining that our family fits in just fine and that we are very thankful to even have a house at all.
For a child brought up a standard middle class environment, rarely seeing any poverty, it would be virtually impossible for them to understand the simple fact that our house, as small as it is. is a lot more than many have.
Housing is a basic human need, yet the statistics of United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2005 notes that, an estimated 100 million people - one-quarter of the world's population- live without shelter or in unhealthy and unacceptable conditions (slumdogs.org).
I find it interesting with our children how we can go along quite happily until we visit people with large houses or more toys and then the questions come thick and fast…"how come", "why", "can't we". Then life goes back to normal for a while, until the next visit to a large house….
On our fridge we have a list of the Ten Commandments written in child friendly language. The tenth commandment says "Be happy with what you have you have. Don't wish for other people's things" (Exodus 20).
As an adult this can be a fairly challenging command, let alone a child grasping what God is saying. I cannot help but think how you instil, model and teach such a command.
With them asking the why's in the first place, a good teaching ground is created, but to raise them to be truly happy with what God has blessed them with is quite challenging. Given the media in their faces, their peers and the world around them changing daily, there is so much 'bigger' and 'better' dangling right in front of them.
The Tenth Commandment
The tenth commandment is asking us to keep a check on the attitude and desires of our heart. There is a lot more to this commandment as we grow into adults; however I am continually seeking ways to help our children to feel so thankful for everything they have and to focus on these things, without the comparing, analysing and coveting what others have.
It remains a challenge and sometimes I get frustrated, thinking back to my travels and to how families live in the slums of Bangladesh and the Philippines. But this is my experience and something you can't easily tell someone until they have experienced it for themselves.
And this goes for my children. Life is about learning and not about rigid rules and commandments. Every day there is something to learn and every day we thank God for everything he has given us.
I hope and pray the tenth commandment and all the others become a natural part of who they are.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html