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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Teaching An Attitude of Gratitude...

...Is a tough job.

About a week ago Snake, Moose, and I went to a toy store because Moose had a gift card from his birthday he wanted to spend. When we got there, there were two Marines standing outside with a big box between them and a local news reporter being filmed.

The boys asked what why the Marines were there, so I explained the Toys For Tots program to them. I asked Moose if he wanted to get a small toy for some child. At first he said "no", but I told him that there were other kids out there whose only Christmas present was going to be from another person who got a toy and put in the Toys For Tots box.

I reminded Moose and Snake how good they have it. We may be in an apartment and not a house, but they have a roof over their heads. They may have come in from running around hungry or wandered into the kitchen saying they were "starving", but there has always been food for them to eat. They may have been chilly; they've always had a warm jacket to put on and decent shoes on their feet. And they have more toys than they can play with.

Moose picked out a Lightning McQueen Hot Wheels type car. He said that it would be a good toy for another little boy.

Snake and I went back to the toy store later that week. He wanted to get the Nerf gun Smith wrote about here. I reminded him he had to pick something out for the Toys For Tots box, and he just said, "I know, Mom".

He'd already told me about the Lego kit he wanted to get. It came with a person and a car. Not big, but acceptable. Snake rambled into the store and got his coveted Nerf gun. Then he wandered over to the Lego section. I showed him something along the lines of what we'd talked about.

Snake looked at me and said he didn't want to get "that". I opened up my mouth to remind him what he'd agreed on, and he stopped me right in mid-breath.

He reached for a kit that had a person, a boat, and a car. This kit cost $5.00 more than the first kit he wanted to get. Snake said, "I'm bigger, and I have more money. I can get something bigger for a bigger kid, like me". I was blown away.

I am so proud of how willing the boys were to get a toy for someone they will probably never meet or know what the child thought of the toy. We talked about it and the boys are going to do this every year from now on.

Things are financially tight for everyone, us included. But, all things included, we have it pretty good. If I can teach what generosity means and how to be generous when times are lean, what will the boys do when they have more?

4 comments:

Evil Transport Lady said...

More parents need to have that attitude! I got my kids involved in giving at an early age, and it stuck! The "buy for a needy family" did it. They came up with the best stuff! You and Mr Smith are doing a great job:)

Anonymous said...

That is sweet. We do this too each year. My girls are getting older, but they still want to do this. They actually have fun picking out a couple of things each year.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome.

Leslie said...

Sounds like your boys are growing up to be men. :)