Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mommy Messes Up

We have a weekly Family Night. Basically just one evening a week where we gather together as a family and discuss a faith-based topic. Usually the lessons are pretty casual, and I don't put all that much work into it all. This week, however, I got a few ideas and started forming a plan.

I wanted to talk about Jesus being the gift of the season, and talk about why people say that Jesus was a gift. I had the fantastic idea to wrap up 3 baby Jesus' from various nativity scenes, then let the kids open them to start off the lesson.

Then I wanted to talk about giving to others, about people who don't have everything they want, and sometimes not even the things they need. Each of the kids had taken an ornament from the school's giving tree, and I wanted them to somehow feel a connection to what we were doing- some sacrifice of things we have to give to those who don't.

So, we started off. They were SUPER excited to open a present-- then disappointed that it wasn't a toy. But, no big deal, we kept on. I then had them think of what they would do if they had $20 just to themselves to buy whatever they wanted. After they each named various things, we talked about all the things we have and how some people don't have all those things. I handed them each a giftcard for $20, and told them they could each choose to keep it or to give it to the giving tree at school.

Ugh. It was heartwrenching for them! We actually had to talk about it a long, long time to get them to "choose" to give it away. Jack held onto his for the longest time.... he just wanted a Monster Truck! Finally, with some gentle coaxing from Daddy, he too gave his up.

As I was tucking them into bed, Jack had the saddest look on his face- he said "I just wanted to keep the $20!" I felt so bad! I knew that we had taught them about giving, but first they opened a present that wasn't really a present, then I gave them each money and made them give it right back! Maybe it did teach them, but I don't know if it was the best way to go about it!

I guess it's official- I screw up sometimes!


ali said...

Hey-- I'm impressed with the whole thing, you're lightyears ahead of us on that topic!

Cecilee said...

Awww! That does sound kinda sad. That's impressive that you got them to give up the money. It could have been worse... they could've decided to keep it. ;o)

Percy2626 said...

An organization where I live, just did something similar. They gave families gift cards to a store and had the kids all go buy toys with the gift cards. Things they would be happy to see under the tree. Then all those toys were giving to a charity that wraps the presents and delivers them to those in need. It was a great time for everyone. Maybe next year you could do something like that and then do something for a treat to celebrate giving with the children afterwards. Your Family Home Evening was a great idea! Giving and not wanting everything for themselves takes children a long time to really grasp. My daughter is 4 and we donate most of our Halloween loot to the food bank here. It was more meaningful for her this year as I took her to the food bank with me and she got to deliver some of it inside. Then when we were getting ready to leave, we saw a family with a little girl go into the food bank to get some food for their family. So then I had a chance to explain it some more to her. Instead of just telling her we are giving things to others I tell her we are sharing what we have. Good luck with your next giving teaching moments.

Merilee said...

It might seem like it was mean, and horrbile, but I am sure sometime (at a much later date) they will remember that experience, and it will mean something special to them! We do something similar to that, but I actually love that you have them a gift card and had them give it up...thanks for the idea!

colleensewnsew said...

That reminds me of last year when we took the kids shopping for the foster kids -- not a fun "spending time with grandparents" experience. But, the learning process is more stamped in your mind the more painful it is. You do a great job as a parent.