Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Christmas Giving

Before we had children, Kenny and I always talked about wanting to find ideas when we did have children, to help them learn about giving to others. We would get so frustrated at how materialistic the world was and how kids were so spoiled that they were unappreciative. We want to buy them gifts, we know others will buy them gifts, but we don't want them to become ungrateful. You know the kids that open a gift and say "I don't like this!" I want to teach my kids to be thankful for anything that anyone gives them. And we hope that as they get older we can continue to find ways to teach them about truly giving. This year we took Isabella shopping a couple times for other people and I thought I would share about me trying to teach my almost 3 year old about giving. The first shopping trip was for her friend Briana. Since her family just moved to Ireland as missionaries their family here got a list together of things we could buy them for Christmas and they are going to ship it all over there as a nice big care package. So I took her out and told her we were going to buy something for Briana -- she did good knowing that the toys we were buying weren't for her, I wasn't sure if she would understand that or not. This went well, so I thought she would be ready to learn about true giving. The next time, we went out and got toys to fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. I love this ministry and definitely want to continue it with my girls and thought, maybe she is ready to learn about it this year. So here's the little conversation we had:
Me: We're going to go buy toys for a little girl that doesn't have any toys.
Her: Bella?
Me: No, Bella has too many toys. Its for a little girl far away...
Her: Nona?
Me: No, not Briana. We already have Briana's, its for...
Her: Nona's far away.
Me: Yes, Nona is far away. But these toys are going to go to a little girl far away that we don't know.
Her: Makenna?
Me: No, not Makenna - we don't know this little girl.
Her: Who is it?
Me: Sigh and laugh (Oh never mind!)

So then we bought toys went home and made up the box. When I got home I was looking at the list (because I had forgotten to take it with me) and noticed it mentioned a couple little things that I should have gotten -- so since Isabella had these I put them in. (I know, it says no used toys, but it was only things like bracelets and a little bouncy ball - nothing that was "used" looking, so I think its Ok, plus I once again thought maybe I can teach her about giving) She did good putting the gifts in there and knowing it was for another little girl, then she took the sunglasses that she was playing with and put them in the box.
Me: Do you want to give those to the little girl?
Her: Yeah, sure! (I wish you could hear her say this)
Me: (My heart swelling with pride) That is So sweet Isabella. Jesus likes it when we give to others.
Her: Yeah
Me: Mommy is so proud of you for giving to the little girl
(she walks away, a couple minutes pass and comes back)
Her: Ok, I get the glasses now.
I guess she was thinking she was just sharing. Oh well, so much for really teaching her about giving. :) I didn't fuss about her taking the glasses back out of the box -- I don't think she is quite ready to totally grasp the idea. And I honestly can't complain, I was afraid that maybe she would fuss when we bought the toys, thinking they were hers and she didn't. She did let me put a couple of her things in there, just not the glasses. :) I do hope as the girls get older we can continue this ministry, as well as find other ways to reach out to others at Christmas. Anyone have any suggestions of ways to teach your children about giving, especially around Christmas?


Anonymous said...

That's great that you are teaching her about giving. It's a hard thing to teach. At least she has the sharing part down. She sounds like such a sweetheart. And good for you helping out others. You're teaching her by example, which is one of the best ways to teach.

andersonfour said...

Hello there friends,

Nathan and I have been having the same dilemma with P this year. We did OCC too, and P and I got online to look at some pictures of children who will recieve the shoeboxes. I think it gave her a visual image to have in mind when we put everything together. But we still had some of the same issues,like P wanting to take things out of the boxes and then remembering, "oh, they're for the little girl berry far 'way." Anyway, I think you're on the right track.

I really hope that P misses the whole concept that she's going to get presents and is actually surprised on Christmas morning. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could teach them that Christmas is ONLY about giving and make that exciting enough for them?

Anyway, love your blog. We love seeing how God is blessing your family.


East of Oregon said...

very nice blog!

Sean Carter said...

Oh! That was a lovely post!! If you are looking out for some unique Christmas ideas, you can jus peep into my Holiday Blog......

kelly said...

You are doing a lot to teach them already -- and getting sharin down is part of giving :)

One thing that we have done, before Christmas especially, is go through their old toys and explain that sometimes people don't have a lot of money to shop in "new" stores, so "let's pick out some nice toys to donate to the Goodwill" toys that you would like to unwrap yourself. . . it helps make room for the incoming gifts and it challenges them to give something of "themselves"

We also usually do Toys for Tots, one that has a donation box in store, so that they pick a toy and donate it right away-- no chance for confusion :)
(i think even the dollar tree participates)

One of the most important things to me, as they grow older is to teach them giving "ANONOMOUSLY" and that can be a lot of fun, to sneak a plate of cookies over to the neighbors, or a loaf of bread. I want mine to learn to give but not seek credit, and that is how I plan to explain the whole santa myth as it shatters around them (Chandler is already wondering) I plan to explain "Santa" is a way for people to give and be nice without "showboating" as the kids like to say.

Growing up, we also visited nursing homes to hand out candy canes and sing Chritmas carols ( I believe you have a little performer in your house, dontcha?!)One year, I distinctly remember being clad as a sheep!
Wow- this grew long... sorry

kelly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michelle said...

I don't have any words of wisdom about teaching giving to kids - but I think you are well on the way to doing that yourself! You're doing this wonderful project with her and taking her shoping and explaining the toys were for another little girl; I think that's a great start! And she'll get it as she sees you doing this each year, I agree she may be too young to fully grasp the idea - but she'll get there!

wendy said...

What a SWEET story! It sounds to me that you already are helping her understand the true meaning of Christmas--giving. She is probably a little too young to fully grasp it, but every year it will better comprehended, AND a great tradition that she will look forward to doing.

Wendy from Flippin' Sweet