The first time I took my boys shopping for goodies to fill Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, I had to leave my cart in the store half-filled and not paid for. One of my children – who shall remain nameless – threw a fit because I refused to buy anything for him. We went home and talked about why we give, and we were able to have a successful shopping trip a few days later.
Several years have passed since that first trip, and it is now our annual way of kicking off the Christmas season. The kids know we are going shopping for little kids around the world, and they dutifully pick out toys, toothbrushes and school supplies.
But this year one of my children seemed to have an epiphany. “I really like doing this. It’s a lot of fun,” he said as we strolled the aisles of Target. Granted, he was spending my money, not his own, but he was finding joy in choosing gifts for someone else. A definite step in the right direction. Once you find the joy that giving brings, it’s something you want to experience again.
I want to see that joy of giving develop in my kids as I look for more ways for them to give.
What do you do to teach your kids to think beyond themselves? Seriously, I’d love new ideas, so let me know.