As a parent to young children, I am constantly trying to find ways to teach about service to others, empathy, giving, etc. This is a HUGE deal to me- one of the most important life lessons that I want my kids to live out on a daily basis and I totally stress about it.
It is so easy for children to get caught up in the whole idea of “Santa” and wanting lots of toys for Christmas… I remember the holidays last year, watching each child as he/she opened present after present~ the attitude, the grandiose expectations... it was fun and all---but I’m not gonna lie, it kinda made my stomach turn a little.
I thought to myself, “next year will be different”. Less emphasis on presents. We are going to focus more on doing activities as a family and more importantly, giving to others.
Every year, people from across the US join together to prepare shoeboxes for children who live in poverty stricken countries--- children who may have never received a present in their entire lives. With love and compassion, these boxes are filled with toys, candy, toiletries, clothing, etc.
As Savannah picked out hair accessories and various goodies, she would exclaim: “Oh, my girl is going to LOOOOVE these!” (Talk about making this Mama’s heart melt)
I tried to let them be in charge of every aspect of this project and only stepped in when I needed to… you know- like to pay for everything. Lol.
Now, don’t think for one second that this little trip to the store was all calm and sweet with perfectly behaved angels. At times, they were like 4 mini-tornadoes destroying every in their path. I was trying to take items out of the cart as fast as they were throwing them in! On several occasions, I had to “huddle-up” and calmly explain what we were doing again. LOL.
Early Sunday morning, the kids ran downstairs in excitement to fill their boxes for their boys and girl. I was honestly, quite surprised at how much they understand at this age--- the importance of what they are doing and how they are helping others.
The boxes were filled with: stuffed animals, cars, crayons, coloring books, toothbrushes/toothpaste, shampoo, soap, washcloths, combs/brushes, socks and undies.
Proudly walking them up to church on Sunday morning.
During the service, our big kids walked their boxes up to the front. Over 500 boxes were collected!
Ethan and Andrew.
So great. I was so proud of my little peeps.
We are also going to cut back on presents this year and try to focus more on fun family activities instead: the Polar Express Train ride, Grand Prairie Lights, Holiday in the Park at Six Flags, etc. Not just “things”, but family experiences, ya know?
I can’t wait.
Lots to be thankful for this holiday season.