Thursday, December 13, 2012

How do you teach generosity and graciousness?

As we approach pass Thanksgiving and enter the winter holiday season I was really struck by how lucky I am and we are as a family to be where we are.  We don't have as much this years as some, but we have plenty.

I have a great job (it has its challenges, but that is another story), that allows us to be comfortable and also allows my husband to go to school full time to finish his PhD.  It also allows me to continue my education towards completion of my BSN once and for all.  It is time to move past my good old ADN and finished my degree once and for all.  So, this rambling background story leads to where I am really headed with this story...

I know I do not take time to appreciate and be thankful and grateful for all that we have.  I in turn need to take the time to teach the kids about thankfulness and to not take it for granted that we are comfortable.

I am trying to focus on how we can share our good fortune this season and I am also using this as a learning opportunity for the kids to share and absorb the fact that we have plenty and it is a duty to share with those that are not as fortunate.

I will digress again for a moment.  I just completed a nursing class dealing with public health and care of vulnerable populations ex: the elderly, those without health care, migrate workers, people below the poverty level etc.  I focused my research for this class on the town and county that I live in.  A particularly affluent area in North Texas and was shocked at what I discovered.  There are so many services that are lacking and people living without the daily necessities that live on my back porch.  Shocking! (I suppose I probably knew this deep down, but didn't really think about it)

So, this season we have taken some of what we have an shared it with those less fortunate.  It started with my oldest, who is 15, who on his own used his own money to contribute to a charity project in his English class involving a less fortunate child and furnishing the child's wish list.  He did this on his own with his own money from his birthday.  Mail ordered a specific, odd request from the kid and delivered to the gift basket at school.

This then led me to contacting our local community outreach and participating in their Angel program and taking the youngest, who is 4 to buy the gifts on the list.  As we were shopping we talked about generosity and sharing.  And also about the fact that this little Angel Boy would not get gifts without our help.  My son was very concerned that our Angel Boy, as he named him, asked for a coat.  He couldn't understand why Angel Boy didn't have a coat when it is so cold out.  He told me, "I have lots of coats, I'll give him one of mine!"  So again, teaching moment I hope, I reminded him how fortunate he was that he had lots of coats and that many people young and old do not.

I also shared with the family about how instead of a gift exchange at my work, it was decided as an office to each donate $20 to the local food bank.

I hope this makes an impact on them.  I also explained that because I spent money on gifts for our Angel Boy, that meant I had less in the Xmas budget to spend on them.  They were okay with this.  I know it makes me feel good to do it. I hope it was a learning experience for them and that I taught them something by example. 

Pay it forward...