Saturday, December 3, 2011

Generosity: collecting data

First, we must assess the current level of generous goodwill in the hearts of our children.  I humbly suggest the following experiment.

Read a heart-tugging book or tell them a story.  Let them look at you wide-eyed while you tell of need and hunger and little match girls.

Then focus their wide eyes on the plenty that surrounds them.  Point their gazes to the boxes full of toys, the shoes spilling out of closets, and the full dresser drawers.

Then bring out the big box labeled “DONATE.”  
Fill it up kids!

Encourage them unto love and good deeds.

Hypothesis:  If you have more than one child, you will likely have more than one type of heart exposed.  A sampling of those under my own roof:

The Novice: This child begins to fill the box gladly, with his own stuff and everybody else’s stuff.  He takes out his siblings’ things as he has been told.  Then he becomes sad for his own things. Slowly he realizes it is more fun to give other people’s stuff away.  

The Oblivious: This child loves every toy that is in front of him, but misses none when they are gone.  (Keep him away from the donate box, then sort through his stuff later.)

The Conflicted: This child is quiet and serious.  Wanting to assuage guilt but also keep his stuff, he is not sure where to begin.  He searches for perfect toy gift that he wants the least.

The Voice of Reason: This child stands by the donate box and finds a reason to withhold as many items as possible.

The Lives-to-Give-er: This child runs to her shelves, gives whatever she can carry, and fills the box.  Then she attempts to give more, and more, looking in her drawers and even thinking about taking the very sheets off her bed.  This child is the one who exposes my own heart, as I hesitate when she asks me for another box to fill.

The Inspired: Swept up by the one who lives to give, this child gives generously too.  He may be overcome later by remorse, when the box is actually in the van and he realizes what he has done.

The One Who is On to Me:  From the moment I started the story about the children in need, this child put his guard up.  He knows exactly where all this is headed, and he’s nobody’s fool.

I am taking this subject seriously, friends, but I have to laugh at the different “raw material” we are given to work with.  Certainly there is no one flawless strategy!  Tell me, what kind of reactions do your kids have?


  1. HA! I love these, and can usually identify one of my own kids. I have a "Conflicted", who recently did find the perfect gift, but later saw it in the van and became the Voice of Reason ("I DO need two baby car seats, because I have more than one baby doll...."). I also have a Novice and probably an Oblivious. Mr. Oblivious is VERY good at picking up, so he may not know the difference...

    We gather toys to give away every St. Nicholas Day. This year it will as many as the giver is years old, and I think mom and dad will participate.

  2. Katy that is a great idea.

    And mine also change "temperaments" too. One child was a Scrooge one year, but then Inspired the next! Perhaps this year he will not regret is so much....


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