ME, ME, ME, ME!!!!!
Sometimes it feels like this is all I hear all. day. long. from each of my three Kidlets. Being 5, 3, and 1, they are just in very self-focused phase of life. It’s all about what they get, what they eat, and making sure they don’t miss out on anything, whether it be treats, friendships, outings, or prizes.
Even last night, as we Trick or Treated in our new neighborhood, there were little squabbles here and there over who got to be first to the door, who got more candy, and who got to be “the line leader” as we walked down the street.
It just seems to be all about “self.”
I’ve talked about it before, here and there, trying to get tips on how to help them break out of this. From my days in college psychology and early childhood development classes, I know a lot of this is merely a developmental issue…. but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to help them learn a simple fact: there is a world outside of “self.”
Real Teaching Comes Through Modeling
So, as parents, my husband and I made this our parenting goal for the school year: Teach Generosity and Kindness. And, as we set about reminding kidlet to be kind … reminded kidlets to share … we learned something ourselves: real teaching comes through modeling.
It’s hard to encourage a child to be kind, to look for opportunities to help others, and to “give of self” if you aren’t doing all of those things. How can a child learn about helping other people if they don’t see YOU doing it?
This Holiday Season, we decided we want to focus on Others in our Community and Others in our World when it comes to our activities. We need to SHOW our children how to give, how to be generous, how to be charitable … not just expect it of them.
Even in our gift-giving as a family, my husband and I want to help the kids see the act of giving as something more than just the act of receiving (which, as little ones, is really their only experience with it).
Rather than showering our kids with a ton of presents (and we are hoping the Grandparents will help with this too), we are going to concentrate on five gifts:
- A gift they want
- A gift they can share (a family gift, such as a board game or movie).
- A gift they need (new shoes or socks or something along those lines)
- A gift they can read (we are book people!)
- A gift for someone else … a gift that helps them learn how to care for others.
Operation Christmas Child — perfect for family giving
We chose to use Operation Christmas Child as a tangible teaching tool this year. It’s perfect, especially for us with little ones, because EVERYONE in the family can participate. It’s not a matter of just giving money online — no, this is a hands on experience!
Here’s the Little Lady’s take on shopping for another child . . . being “a little Elf,” as she called it.
The whole time we shopped (yes, the Kidlets helped with the shopping and the packing — I told you it’s hands on!), I talked with my children about what we were doing and why we were doing it. We talked about how old our Operation Christmas Child kiddos could be … where they could live … what their houses might be like. We talked about what we can do to help with our money, our hands, and our time.
Sure, there were moments where I had to separate children in the shopping cart or repeat (for the umpteenth time), “We aren’t shopping for you today” as eager hands reached for items on the store shelves.
But, the more time I spent with the kidlets, talking about our chance to help a child be happy, the more they started to understand. They started to get it.
Generosity is a life-long commitment, not something achieved in a moment of genius or greatness or by one afternoon trip to Target. But we have started it …. here … with a simple shoe box and a conversation.
This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.
BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built. Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.