Sunday, December 23, 2012

Driving Home the Meaning of Giving

Lately my children have been a little too focused on themselves.

With the holidays quickly approaching, they've been doing a lot of asking for things. They've been keeping lists and asking me to keep one, too. I have a list of things I keep in my head. But mine isn't as long as theirs...and it also focuses on other people, not myself.

So after hearing too many sentences beginning with "I want," the frown on my face appeared and I started thinking about how to teach my children to start saying "I'll give" instead.

I decided to focus on gift giving and asked my children what they would be giving to specific people. My daughter immediately got busy making stuff to give to our family and friends. My son, who is younger, was frustrated and seemed at a loss, but eventually figured out he could make ornaments to give to loved ones, too.

But that's still not enough for me. Because all the things they made, required my buying something for them (wooden ornaments that he got to paint, a loom kit and refills for her to weave), so once again, they were benefitting through consumption.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE that they are being creative and making gifts on their own, but I also want them to experience the feeling of generosity without directly benefitting from it in a material fashion.

So we started looking at charitable gifts. There are many wonderful and deserving organizations out there who do great work to help the poor around the world. And I would encourage you to consider supporting one of them this holiday season.

But I think that we will be focusing on Oxfam America Unwrapped.

If you visit their website, you'll find a fantastic list of gifts organized by category (Education, Women & Children, Animal Gifts, Green Gifts, Making a Living, and Emergency Essentials). Each gift is based on actual projects funded by Oxfam worldwide. You can go through and read about each one.

We've gone through the website and together we set a budget and selected one project to fund. This year, we'll be giving to one of the worthy projects listed on the site. We've narrowed it down to honey bees, books for kids, or help restore a preschool. I'll let you know what our final decision ends up being.

I hope this will become an annual tradition for us, but more importantly, I hope it will teach my children to be more conscious yearround about helping others in need and giving generously.

I hope you'll consider doing something similar with your children. And if you do, please share it below.

Un abrazo fuerte...


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