The holidays are upon us, and as I do every year, I remind my children that giving is as important as receiving. We celebrate in a pretty typical way, decorating our tree, writing letters to Santa, and circling the latest and greatest ‘must have’s’ in new catalogs. We also celebrate Hanukkah, with small gifts every night after we light the Menorah. All of the presents can lead to some pretty hefty expectations, so I try to encourage my children to give back.
Opportunities to help others are all around us this time of year, but I’ve found that my children do more when we give to a cause in which they can relate. As we were leaving school one day, I took my daughter over to a huge board that lists tons of necessities, and a few fun things, that we can get for families in need in our community. My daughter Tessa is 5, and I thought she would like to give something to a girl her age. When I asked her what she wanted to choose, she replied “I’m not really up to it, Mommy. Maybe next year.” I was discouraged that wanted all the gifts for herself. That night we discussed that my older daughter, Annika’s class is responsible for collecting Toys for Tots for the entire school. It’s a huge commitment and the second graders are taking it very seriously. We decided that each of my kids would choose a toy for Annika to bring to school and contribute. Once again, Tessa bowed out.
After many days of discussion and gentle encouragement, my older kids and I were able to explain how happy the other children will be when they too can have some games, toys, and clothes for the holidays. We gave Tessa the time she needed to come up with the idea to give a bead set to an 8 year old girl and a toy to a 3 year old boy. She had a huge smile when choosing and wrapping the presents, and decided on her own to join the fun the other kids were having choosing games for Toys for Tots. What’s great for me is to see not only how proud she is of her good choices, but that her big brother and sister are proud of her too.
By Michelle Moody
Michelle is a Supervisor in our Customer Service Department. She’s also the mother of 4 and she moonlights as a professional organizer. She must also either be a superhero or the proud owner of a time travel machine to be able to fit that all in and still find time to write for our blog.