My children. They are spoiled. This is something I’m keenly aware of. It’s also something that, no matter how hard I try, I haven’t been able to exactly remedy.
I can’t help it. I love them. Yet, I serve them a great injustice by catering to them and answering to as many of their whims as I can. I know. Bad mommy.
But maybe. Just maybe. My children have also learned the lesson of giving.
Yesterday there was a program at my son’s kindergarten. A Chanuka program.
His teacher has a box on display in the class. It’s a large, beautifully wrapped package. On it is a sign that simply says “The Giving Box”. It has been in the class for a few days and the kids have been curious and excited to find out exactly what this mysterious package was.
During this program, the kids all sat in a circle on the floor. The teacher sat with them and next to her was this box.
She finally revealed the contents. Gloves. For the class to wrap with paper that they had decorated themselves. And then, to wrap the gloves, place them back in “The Giving Box” and send them off to children who have no gloves to keep their hands warm during the winter.
They loved this idea. The children’s excitement was obvious and contagious. They wrapped these gloves carefully. They made sure the bow was just so and the candy cane decoration was placed perfectly. They took pride in how their little gifts looked. Then, when everything was to their liking, “The Giving Box” began to fill back up. This time, with presents delightfully wrapped.
It was time to go back to circle time. Now it was the kids turn to receive a gift from the teacher. The excitedly opened their individual packages. Their eyes danced eagerly as they pulled out of the wrapping, their own new set of gloves.
The teacher then gave each child an option. They could keep these gloves that she lovingly picked out to give them. OR. They could put their new set of gloves into that box. Where a child who wouldn’t otherwise get a new pair of gloves would now get some.
Most kids kept their gloves. There were a couple who, with mixed emotion, put theirs generously in that box.
My son did not. He loved those gloves because they were from his favorite teacher.
Yesterday, he received a gift from a little girl who wouldn’t be able to attend his birthday party. It was an Imaginext Batman and Joker toy which he already had at home. Toys that he loved and played with constantly.
After he opened the gift and got through his dissappointment over the fact that he already had these. He said to me, in the sweetest voice EVER “Mommy, since I already have these. Is it OK if I put them in the Giving Box tomorrow?”
I told him that was the most perfect idea.
So today, he marched into his class with his bag that contained the Joker and Batman Imaginext toys, along with a pair of new gloves that I had bought for him and he went over to his teacher to explain to her what he wanted to do with the contents of this bag.
He told the little girl who had bought the gift for him what he was doing with it. She was sad at first but then, was just as excited as he was.
His teacher, with a tear in her eye because of how proud she was of my son, took him down to the school office to see if there was wrapping paper for these toys.
I watched him walking with his teacher. I heard her telling him how special this was and how proud she was of him.
And I left. My heart full. Knowing that yes, my children are spoiled. But also, that I am raising good, kind, caring, compassionate and giving human beings. That just because they want something doesn’t mean they won’t give back in turn.
And this Mommy. Couldn’t be prouder.
UPDATE: I picked him up from school today. I made sure to reinforce how proud I am of him. I let him know that what he did was a mitzvah, a good deed. He told me…*sniffle* that he knows. And that his heart is happy.
I know. He’s so awesome.