You know what’s tough? Balancing the desire to lavish good things on your children all while the same time keeping them grounded. I want them to have so much, but at the same time I want them to know that they don’t deserve any of it. And that’s a tough lesson to teach, especially to a 2 year old.
You see, most of what my daughter knows is about receiving. When she was came into this world, she just had everything provided for her (and rightfully so). People came to see her for the first time, and they got her gifts. And then Christmas came around, and people got her gifts. Next was her birthday, and more gifts! Easter? Why not – let’s get her small gifts. Family goes on vacation – gifts for her come back! Guess what? She had a brother! You know what that means? More gifts for her!
Stepping back, it’s clear to see how easy it is for her to be so excited about receiving things. I love the joy and excitement she has when she gets a present. But I know because of all the opportunities she has for receiving, we’ve got to work a lot harder to show her how amazing giving is.
We try to make a big deal about our chances to give to others – because it is a big deal. I want it be a major part of her life. I want her to give.
I want my family to give. Give generously. Give graciously. Give things of value. Give without expecting anything back.
Around this time every year, my church participates with Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse. We explained to Eden how there are so many kids around the world who don’t have ‘things’ like we do, and we wanted to give them gifts. She was all in. So we took a date with her to brunch, then headed out to the store to pick out some toys to pack the shoebox.
After the trip we came home and worked together to assemble and pack the boxes for the kids. While she did have some lapses of judgment in wanting to keep some of the toys for herself (particularly the yo-yo’s), she was very excited to pack the boxes. She would separate the gifts for the boy and the girl and help us pack the boxes. She also colored a picture and sent some information about herself in the box. We really hope to hear back from whomever gets the present!
She truly was excited to pack the boxes for the kids. When we told her we were doing this, she would tell other people that we were going to get presents for “all the kids”. I want her to think big like that. Sure, we only did 2 boxes this year. But I want her (and us) to have a mindset that this is only the beginning. The goal is not just to give 2 kids a present this year, but to live a life of giving to anyone and everyone we meet that needs it. I want her passion to challenge me do the same.