Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 7 - Giving to Others

On Day 7, the kids found three tags in our Christmas Countdown stocking with the age and gender of a child in need this year, along with that child's specific gift request. I tried to pick tags that had gift requests that each of my kids could relate to. For example, a boy requesting an Operation Game, a little girl who wanted a toy shopping stroller, and a toddler requesting a Little People toy.

In keeping with my Day 6 post, Day 7 did not go exactly as I had envisioned either. I thought my children would be very touched to learn of kids whose parents did not have the money to purchase gifts this year. I had hoped they would be excited to be able to help get gifts for these kids, but the concept was a little too abstract for Nathan's literal mind. He has a kind heart, but his general attitude at first was that he didn't know these alleged children, and besides, he would rather we save our money for presents for him!

It took him awhile to warm up to the idea, but instead of getting frustrated and scolding him for being selfish, I decided to take a few minutes to teach him about giving. I explained that we are trying to be more like Jesus, and sat down and shared with him a couple of stories from the children's version of the New Testament that we own.

First, we read the story of the loaves and the fishes. I explained to Nathan that the little boy only had a small amount of food. When he brought it to Jesus, the Savior could have taken it all for Himself and His close friends, but instead He shared it with over 5000 others. I told Nathan that because they had shared the food, there was enough to go around. Likewise, if we share our blessings with others, God will bless us and we will have what we need.

Then we read about the Good Samaritan, which was a story that Nathan was already familiar with somewhat. We talked about how the Samaritan did not even know the Jew who was injured, but he helped him anyway.

After our short lesson, we went out shopping. Nathan seemed to be a little more enthusiastic about shopping for the other children, even making an effort to help me locate the toys we were searching for while only minimally distracted by toys that he was interested in for himself. For most kids his age, I would say that's a great start!

For a much more inspiring post about a little boy just about Nathan's age who radically changed how his family does Christmas with a couple of thoughtful and unselfish questions, click here. You will love it.

How do you teach your children to give to others? Or how did your parents teach you?

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