Guess I Don't Know My Kids That Well After All...(a lesson in generosity)

One of my favorite parts of this Christmas season is giving. I'm like every other red-blooded human on the planet and enjoy receiving a good gift or two, but it is giving that really gets my blood pumpin'. I love every step of gift-giving, from the picking out to the seeing happy faces after the gift has been opened.

It is so hard in this crazy materialistic world we live in to keep our kids' focus on the true meaning of Christmas and on the importance of unselfishness. Especially when one of those kids is an ornery little red-head who is deadset on getting a BB Gun for Christmas and also feels as though the world revolves around him.

One thing that we usually do as an act of service to others this time of year, and that gives my kids an opportunity to take pause and actually consider the concept of generosity, is Operation Christmas Child. We have stuffed many a shoebox with our well-thought over (and sometimes fought over)tiny gifts of practicality and necessity. This year, however, the deadline crept up on me and we ran out of time. (Our small group at church and Keaton's class at school all packed shoeboxes -- so, I feel fairly involved, even though we didn't pack any personal boxes at home.)

But that left me without our usual charitable kid-oriented project. In all the craziness of the holidays and such, it actually had slipped my mind (yikes!) until yesterday and one of our usual run-into-Walmart-for-two-things-and-come-out-with-fifty trips.

Set up in the front of the store are the Angel Trees. Each tree is decorated with sheets detailing the Christmas needs and wants of area kids. I've passed by these trees a hundred times already this season, but haven't stopped to even look at the Angels. I've participated in Angel Tree projects before and know how rewarding they can be, but just have never done it with my family before.

I was on my way to waltzing right past them again, when Sawyer (the red-headed ornery one) stopped me.

That's a funny looking tree, Mom.

What's funny about it, Saw?

It is decorated in paper. How come?

Those papers tell people about kids who aren't going to have nice Christmases like you. It tells what they need and want for Christmas.

Who's going to buy them stuff?

Well, anyone who wants to. If you want to help a little boy or girl have a nice Christmas, you can have one. (I start to push my buggy on into the store.)

I wanna do that.

Insert gaping mouth and flabbergasted look....this after all is Mr. Center of the Universe...charity is not his strong suit...


Yes. I want to help a little boy.

So, my fellas and I shopped around for an angel all of our own. The boys were so excited as they circled the tree and searched for one that they wanted to buy toys for. We finally settled on this one...

We shopped and shopped for our little angel. We bought toys and clothes. Underwear and coloring books. Shoes and crayons.

And not once in the toy aisles did I ever hear anything about themselves. No "Can I keep it?" or "I want that for Christmas." They were so wrapped up in the Angel, that their own wants never crossed their mind. After getting home and looking over all our purchases, we prayed for our little Angel.

So, I'm left feeling a little guilty for thinking that my children don't have a generous bone in their bodies, and feeling a huge amount of pride in knowing that my children do get it. That even though they may act like hooligans and fight like cats, deep down they are beginning to understand one of the reasons for this very precious Season.


Jennifer said...

That's so sweet!

Alison said...

Wow..they surprise you everyday don't they?

Jim said...

Way to Go, Sawyer James! I never realized before, but "angels" have red hair, too!


Jim said...

Way to Go, Sawyer James! I never realized before, but "angels" have red hair, too!


Jo said...

Kids sure have a way of surprising us (nicely) don't they? I'm sure, however, that they watch and learn from their parents, even though we don't realize just how much our actions are absorbed. And, I know that K, S & T have had very good role models! Good job, Mom & Dad!
Aunt Jo

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

That's really sweet and lots of fun!

Amy Fulmer said...

My heart is swelling. I am so wrapped up in the details that it is good to hear that other people are as touched by the project. this is my last year, and it is gonna be hard to turn over!