Monday, December 11, 2006

Teaching kids about sharing with others at the holidays

We have lots of traditions with our grandchildren, but none is more special than our “sharing” trip we take during the Christmas holidays. This is a tradition that any parent or grandparent can start with their own family.

Our grandchildren, now ten of them and counting, are pretty typical of most middle class children of today. The have lots and appreciate little. They don’t take a lot of time from their own worlds to think about others and how children who aren’t as blessed as they are, might be spending their holidays.

So, one afternoon during the holidays, we take them all (or as many as we can gather) and head for a toy store. They each have $15 to spend on a child. They can pool their resources to buy something bigger, or they can pick individually. They think carefully about what a child who may get nothing except their present might really like. We guide only a little and mostly watch in amazement at the thought that goes into their choices.

We then deliver the gifts to a local fire station. The firemen are wonderful with the kids and talk about what a wonderful thing they have done. They talk about distributing the toys – and they let them climb on the fire equipment and learn about fighting fires.

We try to go for a treat, but sometimes their schedules are so tight that we’ve got to get them home and back to their busy lives, only hoping that they have thought just a little about another boy or girl – even for a moment.

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