This weekend I took my kids to decorate their Grandma’s bedroom for Christmas. My mom lives in a care home and is in end-stage heart failure. We aren’t sure at this point how much time we have with her. As I watched my kids excitedly decorate her room and show their Grandma all of the “treasures” they had brought to make her room look festive, I had a realization. They were so happy and were working so cooperatively to help make someone else happy. I decided right then and there that this was going to be a holiday filled with much more opportunities for them to do just that. To do something for someone else.
My hope in doing this is to help my children understand that even at a young age, they can work to help relieve suffering, bring joy and make the world they live in a better place. If you would like to foster this same kind of experience this Holiday season here are two gifts you can give your children this holiday season that don’t cost anything.
The Gift Of Service
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
It really is that simple. Light and knowledge of yourself and the world we live in comes through serving others. Teaching our children to think of others, and then to serve them, will make them better people.
Think about who you can serve; a neighbor, pick up trash in your neighborhood, take cookies to older people in your community, make blessing bags to give to struggling or homeless individuals you see on the street. I always think the simple acts of service are the most meaningful, so focusing small works really well.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and they have provided a very simple service calendar prompt to help think of ways to serve others. Something like this can easily be used within families and to help children learn to serve.
” The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Go out and serve this Holiday season, and see what happens. I think you will be pleased and even rewarded in ways that aren’t seen, but can definitely be felt.
P.S. I would love to hear about it too!
The Gift Of Time
My family is at an interesting stage right now. I have older children with not very many “traditional” Christmases left at home with me, because soon they will be off on their own adventures and return only occasionally on breaks and such. I also have a few littles still in the home.
Parents trust me when I say this time with your children goes so fast. I don’t know how 18 years can go by that fast, but it just does.
Slow it down this holiday season. Take a break from trying to make it perfect. Do you remember as a kid whether or not the tree looked just perfect or that the house was perfectly clean? Or that the presents were wrapped perfectly?
I am guessing you don’t remember any of that. I know I don’t. I remember having the people I loved around me, and the feeling of being loved and cherished.
Make that your focus this Holiday season. Throw perfection out the door, because it is harmful and unnecessary.
Instead, choose to give your time to those who matter the most in your life.
“Time is your most precious gift, because you only have a set amount of it.” ~Rick Warren