Here’s what I came up with:
I wasn’t doing it to provide for the needy or to give to others with a kind heart. I was doing it as a way to cleanse the space around me, to get rid of the STUFF that was occupying my eyes. I did it so it was easier to clean, and less to mess with.
I’m not certain, but all I can think is maybe I was doing this because I have pretty much ALWAYS had more than what I needed. Growing up in a home that was certainly not high class, and sometimes not quite middle class, I only a few times really remember experiencing a sacrifice or struggling.
But when we did, those times although hard, passed quickly, and without a thanks to God or a lesson from my parents about the things we did have. (You’ll know from past posts though, I have great parents, but God was not usually pointed out as being the center of our home when I was growing up).
So recently I decided to go through my home and give, when I wasn’t in a mood. I took the kids along with me and we went through each closet, drawer, cupboard and shelf. We decided that the dining room table was our GIVE space. We talked about the types of things we wanted to give and that we weren’t giving just because it was things that we didn’t need, but because we wanted to be Godly givers.
When my children went through their toys and clothes to give, it shocked me. When going through my daughters hair bows I stepped back, and let her decide what to keep and give. I didn’t influence one way or another. Once she was finished I just asked her, “Are you sure your piles are right, this looks like you’re giving more bows than you’re keeping?”. Thinking that she’d quickly switch the piles, she instead just said “That’s right, and guess what mom? I still have A LOT!”
My daughter realized that she still had more than enough. We said several thankful prayers to God. This was much harder with the 3 year old because everything was “This is mine” “I want to keep everything!”. But by the end of the two day event it turned into “I don’t NEED this” or “Someone else can love this”. He would willingly run his un-needed items to the giving table and proudly yell out “I’m giving!”.
This experience was great for all of us.
I was certain not to guilt the kids into giving, I wanted them to realize each of their blessings and only give what they felt comfortable giving.
The princess and I took a car FULL to the second hand store and on the way down she said “Mommy, I really don’t think I’m ready to give my Hannah Montana pillow”. We talked about it, and I told her how I had also put something in the give pile that I thought I wanted to keep. I told her I was going to go ahead and give my item because I knew I was only thinking of keeping it because it was new, not because I had a use for it, or an attachment to it. If she wasn’t ready though, she could keep the pillow until she felt ready. So she kept it, hasn’t touched it since, BUT that’s okay. 🙂 She recognized her feelings and expressed them to me, that made me pretty happy 🙂
What can you give freely and with an open heart? If not something you possess, when and where can you give your time?