Last week we were banished to our basement for two days waiting for Hurricane Sandy to blow over us.
Our home is surrounded by trees; the huge kind that break houses and smash humans when they fall on them, so hanging out underground while they swayed frantically above us was our safest bet.
Our basement is fortunately where our laundry room, playroom, office, bar, and TV area are (only Dumb Dad uses this TV area in non-emergency situations). There’s also a bathroom. Along with bunch of floor space for putting up air mattresses and having dance battles and what not. We had
booze everything we needed to past the 36 hours we decided to stay holed up in there.
I was able to blatantly ignore my laundry get some work done and, since we were fortunate to only suffer a few moments of lost power, we also played video games, watched movies, and had a dance off to 90s jams (#3 learned to do the Cabbage Patch).
But, we also took those hours of mandatory togetherness to do something we do every year at this time: we cleaned out our playroom and made boxes of toys, clothing, and games to donate to Goodwill.
We donate several times per year, but all of those other piles are created by me. That’s what makes this one special; The Dudes create it themselves. They decide what things they don’t need anymore. They pick out the toys that are still healthy enough to be playable and the clothing that is still not blown to bits by their overzealous playing. Then they bag it up and get it all ready for donation.
We’ve done this every year since #1 could talk.
We donate our no longer loved on toys to kids who don’t have as many toys to love on.
Initially, there were a whole mess of tears over it; the loss of toys that had not been handled lovingly (or at all) in months was suddenly invoking emotions in my three year old human that he likely had no idea he even had.
But then, I took him and his box of unloved playthings to Goodwill with me, donated them, bought him a new dinosaur, and watched him get over the trauma of the entire thing almost immediately.
What can I say? 3 year olds are fickle.
The next year was easier, and now, 9 years later, he doesn’t let a year go by without reminding me that we need to get our stuff down to Goodwill before the weather turns cold (because he knows that people need more clothing and stuff during the winter months). He’s been a great role model in giving for his even slightly-more-attached-to-inanimate-objects brothers, and I am so proud of him for this (and a bunch of other things too).
I’ve always wanted The Dudes to be the kind of people who are grateful, and unselfish, and aware of the wonderful gifts they have been given by
having me as a mother in this life.
I don’t want them to feel entitled. I want them to feel privileged. I want them to understand that they have the unique privilege to live the happy, largely-worry-free life that they live. I want them to see it as a gift and one day grow up to
thank me immensely in cash and jewels understand that their mother parents and loved ones sacrificed and worked super hard to provide them with the life that they have. I want them to be proud and feel the need to keep that tradition going by becoming independently wealthy on my behalf working hard and giving back. Just like they wee taught.
We teach this by being good role models and by encouraging them to do little things, like donating their old toys, and collecting canned food for the food bank, and saving their lemonade money to buy trees.
These may not be grand gestures, but when I see them all proud of themselves for being able to give something to someone else, they feel pretty freakin’ grand to me.
How do you help your children
beat back the entitlement monster appreciate their blessings and remind them to be grateful of the things that they have?
Need some suggestions? Check out my friend Amy’s blog, Teachmama.com. Not only is it an amazing site with a bunch of educational type goodies, but she has joined forces with some other do-gooding mamas for #blog4cause: an initiative designed specifically to teach your children about giving this holiday season.
*Today’s post was brought to you by Hallmark and inspiring do-gooder type kids everywhere. I am compensated by Hallmark as part of their Life is a Special Occasion Campaign. All opinions are my own, or stolen directly from my children.