16 December 2010

Oops: Making Giving Matter

I found this in my drafts. Let's just pretend I posted it when I intended to post it, mkay? Thanks.

Last weekend Chris and I had a chance to teach Ella a little bit about giving.
I'll be honest; it was just plain fun!

Ella's Christmas list was a mile long this year.
The kid's insane! :)

We wanted her to know the fun of giving, too.
So Chris and I talked among ourselves about what might be a good gift for Ella to give each of us.
We each picked an item where we thought she could pick the specific item if we got her to the right category.
She loved it! (At least with me; I obviously don't know how she did with Chris.)
As we looked at item after item she would say, "I don't think we should get this one." or "Do you think daddy will like this?" It was sweet. And she did a very good job, too!

Then we went to Hobby Lobby and let her pick out some ornaments to paint for some other people she loves, her grandparents and one special family at church.

When we got home with the ornaments and the paint, you would have thought she was crafting something for the Louvre. She wanted each ornament to be just right. She thought at length about what should go on each one. She was careful. She was patient as we worked through the steps. She wrapped them herself (the ones we wrapped that day). And she took great pride in giving them (she still has two to give away). It was fun to watch her.

Then on Sunday, we pulled out the catalog and talked about our sponsored child.

We talked about how she's Ella's age.
We talked about how Christmas isn't about toys for some kids.
Christmas is about surviving.

We talked about how a rabbit from World Vision might help a child. What could a rabbit provide? (And she knew!) We talked about mosquito nets and what a difference they could make for some kids. We talked about medicine. We talked about school. We talked about homes.

She didn't entirely "get it."
She still wanted to send them toys and hair bows and "a good pair of shoes."
The sort of stuff that a 6 year old "thinks" is necessary for survival.
But we did it anyway.
Because you have to start somewhere.

Ella has a very generous spirit, and for that her dad and I are very grateful.
She's a sweet, thoughtful girl.
We want to raise her to take that sweet, thoughtful attitude and spread it.

We settled on school supplies from Compassion.
Somewhere in the world, a little boy or girl will be able to have books and uniforms and pencils this Christmas because our little girl is learning to make her giving matter.

When you finish up the busyness of this week, sit down with your kids and see what you can give to someone else.

If you don't have actual dollars to spend, can they sort their clothes they've outgrown?
Can you spare a few sets of dishes?

What about the toys?
Hospitals love to get "gently used" toys.
Can you "make room for the new" by giving away the old?

What about your table?
Who needs a seat for Christmas?
Who can you invite that might otherwise be lonely that day?

Find a way to make Christmas matter to someone else this year.
Trust me, it's worth it.

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