Grow: The Gift of Giving
It can be challenging, during the everyday busyness of life,
to grasp each opportunity we have to impress on our children things that are of
spiritual significance. As I commented
while talking with some fellow moms yesterday, “No one in my family will be
naked or hungry if I forget to talk about God.
Everyone would notice really quickly if I stopped cooking or doing
laundry!” Thankfully, this week I had
the chance to turn what could have been an “autopilot” decision with my son
into a conversation about what really matters.
And it all started with a bouncy ball…
school states that because so many children have food allergies, children are
not allowed to send in treats to celebrate their birthdays. If parents would like to, they can send in a
party favor bag for each student in the class, or they can donate a book to the
class library. I had already started
thinking about what we could do, but something happened that made me decide I
am definitely NOT sending home party favor bags. What was it?
Well my son came home with one such bag earlier this week. The stickers went up to his room to languish
in a pile of arts and crafts supplies.
The bouncy ball was fought over with his brother for 20 minutes before
being bounced into the
do that to anyone else…”
“Ok, no problem,” I thought. “I’ll get a book for the classroom. I wonder what would be a good book. I wonder what books they have already. I wonder if they would only want a hardback book…” It was then that I realized I was missing the
opportunity to teach my son something about giving. Of course we are going to give him presents
on his birthday, but on our budget the only classroom gifts we could give would
either be a) plastic junk that nobody needs and will be broken or lost in five
seconds, or b) classroom supplies that would probably be used but are in no way
needed at this already well supplied school.
That’s when I had my ‘ah ha’ moment.
it?!? I could let my son choose the
gift. It will be purchased in honor of
his birthday and he can tell his classmates about it. It will actually matter! And it helps
reinforce a truth I want my children to know:
they live lives of privilege, and with that privilege comes responsibility. The ability to give to others is a gift, in
and of itself, and one that had best be used before selfishness and discontentment
The two of us sat down and looked at World Vision’s gift catalog. I narrowed our search for gifts
that were under $25, and we watched the videos and read the descriptions of the
gifts we thought looked interesting. We
learned that some children have never played with a real ball before, and the gift of a soccer ball brings much joy.
For children with troubled backgrounds, music and art are healthy outlets. And children who probably will not get any
other birthday presents can be part of the World Vision annual birthday celebration,
which helps them feel valued and loved.
After much debate, my son decided to give the gift of three ducks to a family in need. He thought the ducks
were cute, and liked that someone could eat or sell the eggs. So while he felt a moment of sadness over not
handing out bags of treats to his classmates, he is also excited to explain
that instead of buying treats for his class he has bought ducks for a needy
family, and that “makes God really happy.”
Until next time! MaryAnn
a teachable moment?