Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blessing Bags (Teaching Your Child to Give Back)

There are many things I wish for my children. Way too many things to list on this blog. But at the top of that list is my desire for them to be loving, compassionate, and kind. To understand that they are blessed beyond measure and that going through life thinking only about themselves is no way to live.

It's never too early to teach your children about giving back. When Ben started whining about Disney World and why we couldn't go back every year, I explained to him that some kids will never get the chance to go. And in his innocent, 4 year old little mind, he just couldn't comprehend that. And yet another teachable moment occurred. 

J and I are blessed. We both have great jobs, a wonderful home, loving family and friends, and 2 boys who we want to never take advantage of what they have. In an effort to teach Ben about giving back to those who have less or sometimes nothing at all, he and I created "blessing bags" one weekend.

I had a ton of sample and travel size toiletries that were just taking up space under the bathroom counter so I decided it was time to put them to use. (I may also want to teach my children not to be hoarders of all things mini size)

We started by separating the items into girl and boy piles (note the plate and blue Gatorade lip stain-making bags is hard work and requires snacks)

Then he labeled each bag accordingly

And put the items in the bag

To make it a little more personal, Ben colored pictures and signed his name before throwing them in the bags too

We also added some premade cracker packs and Capri Suns. In the end, I think we made 4 boy bags and 3 girl bags. 
We keep these bags in our car and if we see a homeless person or person needing help, we give them a bag. And unlike naive and innocent Ben, I realize not all those with a sign are without a home and some people do just want money. But I'm choosing to teach my child that we help and give, without judgement. Maybe they will just throw the bag away when he drive off, maybe they will eat the food and use the deodorant, or maybe they will see the hand drawn spiderman by a 4 year old and it will spark something in them-that's MY 4 year old naive innocence coming out. Ben will have his whole life to become jaded by the world and people around him, but for now, we just give.

*Note. We never get out of the car to give the bags out. I roll down the window and hand it to the person, but always in daylight and always in areas where there are lots of other cars around-usually when we are stopped at a traffic light. It's great to give, but safety should always be the first priority.
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