As our kids receive gifts at Christmas, it’s an important moment to teach them gratefulness. My parents insisted we give thanks (verbally and affectionately) for each gift we unwrapped before opening another. Now, Brian and I require the same of our boys.
But I’m sometimes concerned that the number of gifts our boys receive this time of year only reinforces the selfish idea: “It’s all about me and what I want.”
While selfishness is natural to my boys and to all of us, giving and sacrifice is not. That’s why I was thrilled when an opportunity to redirect their attention from themselves to others came along this Christmas.
Thanks to the initiative of Carolyn McCulley, our family, along with other members of Covenant Life Church, were put in touch with needy children in our community. And so this morning, I loaded the boys in the double stroller and along with Mom, Nicole, Janelle, Chad, Jack and Caly took them toy and clothes shopping for a little boy and girl.
I’m not sure how much Liam and Owen (ages 3 and 4) understood—besides the fact that they weren’t taking the toys home to play. But I overheard Andrew (6 1/2) explaining to Liam that the toys were not for him. It’s a start!
Whether or not they’re old enough to really grasp the significance of what we did today, I don’t think it’s too early for us to begin to chip away at the selfishness in their hearts. As we look for opportunities to give each year (and not just at Christmastime), I pray that by the time they have children of their own they will know from experience that “It’s better to give than to receive.”