Lessons About Giving

5 Nov

Guest blogger Sharla writes about plans for teaching her kids to give to others in the crazy holiday season.  Do you have any creative ideas for teaching this to your kids?  We’d love to hear from you!

So Christmas is right around the corner again.  Another year of crazy madness in the malls, traffic galore, and children wanting everything they see on the commercials.  Unless we make a change.

I mean, how much more can our kids really need?  They have clothes that fit and are stylish, they have the favorite Barbie or car, and they have, in my case, pretty good health.  So this year our family has decided to make a change.  I have concocted a plan to show our kids what is truly important during Christmas and most of all – daily.

I decided to have “Santa” send the kids a card asking for them to be his “special helper elves.”  He will include 90% of the money he would typically spend on them for gifts, somewhere around $250 dollars.  He will ask them to help other children who really need a friend during this time of the year.  My whole family will hand deliver them presents prior to Christmas, and hopefully my daughter will walk away with some new friends.

I have already found the “friends” we will help – Cooks Children’s Hospital and Children’s Medical Center.  I decided to go that route for 2 reasons.  The first is that my son has had his fair share of trips there due to RSV and asthma.  Every time we went it was crazy, scary, and rushing – never really understanding that anything can happen.  We protect our children to the best of our ability but it never seems to be enough.  Things sadly happen – and happen to good, caring people.

So what better feeling than another parent thinking of your children when they’re not in the best of health!  I chose these charities because the last thing I want frightened parents to worry about is, “Did we grab the Christmas gifts on our way out?”

The second reason I chose these places is because of my daughter’s sense of entitlement.  We have had a few situations with our 5-year-old daughter, where she seems to feel as if she deserves everything.  In particular, one day after school she let me know that a friend of hers had a neat pair of Twinkle Toes shoes.  (Keep in mind she has a neat pair of Twinkle Toes herself.)  She asked if she could get a pair like her friend’s.  I told her she already has a great pair, but it didn’t seem to be enough.  I found myself actually upset that she would have the nerve to ask for another 50 dollar pair of shoes just because her friend had them.  I was yelling, “You should be grateful you have a pair yourself, along with the other 15 pairs of shoes you have in your closet!” (Obviously exaggerated…)

Another time, I bought 3 tickets to an “On-Ice” program for the four of us, when my son was still a lap baby.  It was a princess theme, so I thought my daughter would be beyond words with excitement.  Well, the show was great, but as we were leaving she commented on not getting the free camera that came with our tickets.  It turned into a HUGE deal.  When we actually got into the car, I asked her if she enjoyed the show and her response was – a shrug.  I found myself disappointed during the whole car ride home, because I had anticipated a huge hug and a “Thanks so much for taking me!” response, which I never did receive.  So it really got me thinking…maybe I should show my whole family – me included – what great satisfaction we could receive by giving.  So here we are.

My plan is to take a list of toys the children need and have my kids help pick great toys out.  I have also ordered bulk coloring books, crayons, bubbles, stickers, stuffed animals, etc., for goodie bags.  We are also making flowered beanies for the little girls going through hair loss in the hospitals.  I have “distraction” toys for the children doing blood work, etc.  We will also make handmade cards to deliver to families there.  I’m still in preparation mode….so as the weeks go on I will keep you posted on the progress.

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3 Responses to “Lessons About Giving”

  1. Lori November 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to hear how it all turns out! You are not alone in having a child who shows signs of “entitlement” from time to time, despite my best efforts!

  2. Jen November 5, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Sharla, kudos to you for wanting to make a positive change in how your kids view Christmas! I’m sure this blog will be inspirational to many parents who experience their kids having a major case of the “gimmes” at this time of year (or all the time!).

    My family just wrapped up our annual food drive, which my kids were very involved with, and I want to stay right on the heels of that spirit – maybe pick a couple angels from the Salvation Army tree? Like your plan, my kids can be the ones to go shopping and pick out the items needed. I think getting them involved is the key!

  3. Jen November 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    Here’s another cool thing – I just found out that you can pick your Salvation Army angel online now!

    Go to: http://angel.jcpenney.com/. How great that they’ve made it even easier! If I hear of any other good charities, I’ll post them here. I’ll look into what Mission Arlington is doing, too.

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