Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What are You Teaching Your Children?

As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’”—Acts 20:35 (NIV).

“Cash, which doughnut do you want?” 

The question came from my 8-year-old grandson, Brennan, while we were at a rodeo concession stand. It was after lunch and doughnuts were being given away free. All you had to do was ask.

After getting my permission, my grandsons were handed two doughnuts, each different. One was chocolate and the other plain vanilla. I could see a squabble brewing over the first—after all, what kid doesn’t like chocolate? Instead, I was blessed by the thoughtfulness of my oldest grandson who let his younger cousin choose first. Of course, Cash chose the chocolate one. I wasn’t surprised nor was I disappointed when Brennan contentedly ate the other one.

As a grandparent, I am seeing the fruits of the lessons I taught their parents. Do they always get it right? No, but when they do, I praise them for their thoughtful choices. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

With the current focus on being the first store to open and offer bargains on Black Friday—and now Thanksgiving Day—I am amazed by the number of people who camp out overnight to be first in line for limited merchandise at rock-bottom prices. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in buying Christmas gifts for loved ones, but the commercialism of this sacred holiday continues to grow as retail giants entice consumers earlier each year. 

What does it teach our children and grandchildren?

While we can’t do anything about the commercials enticing us with bargain mania, we can teach our loved ones the true meaning of this wonderful season. Last year, a grass-roots movement called “Giving Tuesday” was born. The brainchild of the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center in New York and the United Nations Foundation, “Giving Tuesday” is a movement created as a national day of giving. 

To kick off the giving season, the organization wanted to create awareness of the non-profit needs across the world. Because of the economy, nonprofit giving has gone down. By adding the Tuesday following Thanksgiving to the calendar, organizers saw nonprofit donations increase. 

Last year, approximately 2,500 nonprofits participated. With millions of people in need, corporations are also partnering with non-profits to help “Giving Tuesday” become as widely recognized as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a day when online retailers offer special prices.

To make your holiday more meaningful and to teach your children and grandchildren the real meaning of Christmas, I would like to suggest you give either money to your favorite charity or volunteer your time. 

Some simple suggestions include 

  • volunteering to be a Salvation Army bell ringer
  • taking some of your non-perishable food items to a local food pantry
  • donating unused clothing and household items to Goodwill or another charitable organization
  • volunteering to serve a meal at a local homeless mission
  • adopting a needy family and providing everything they need for a holiday dinner or helping the purchase Christmas gifts

It is more blessed to give than to receive. What are you teaching your children and grandchildren?

If you choose to participate in "Giving Tuesday," please share what you decided to do to give back.

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