The Great Family Giveaway
Is it possible to gain more by giving away? This may seem strange to some, but it certainly can be a reality that we want to pass on to our children. Sometimes we can fall into a trap of focusing so much on our kids that we miss a huge gift we could be giving.
In fact, we’ve heard of older people saying, “If I had it to do over again I’d spend more time with my kids.” We don’t want that failure on our consciences, but is it possible to swing too far the other way?
Some parents enjoy their family so much they just want to capture it somehow and not let it go. They know their children won’t be young long. Peter and John tried to do the same thing when they experienced the transfiguration with Jesus in Mark 9:4-5. In essence they said, “Let’s build tents here and camp out and enjoy this together.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to family life that approach can backfire.
Here’s the amazing fact. Your family can actually increase in closeness when you work as a family to share with others. We all want to enjoy the good times but some benefits in life are gained through giving, not by hoarding. Honoring others is one value that increases as you give it away.
To get you started, here are a few ideas of ways your family can share with others.
1. Collect the Mail.
During December many organizations send out appeals to raise funds for their ministries. Those appeal letters are full of stories of real people both near and far who have needs. Read them, talk about them, and choose one as a family to give to. This one activity can raise the awareness level of the challenges people face. See Christmas a Time for Generosity Training.
2. Help Someone in Need.
Look around your neighborhood or church and identify a way to help. It might be groceries to someone who is poor, gifts for a single-parent family, or cookies to bless an older person. Working together to identify the need and then contributing to it tangibly blesses the givers as much as the recipients.
3. Phone Calls.
When kids call grandparents or loved ones, hearts are blessed. It doesn’t cost any money to pick up the phone. When kids tell stories about their lives, they share a connection with others that’s greatly appreciated. Also, thinking of questions that allow the other person to tell a story can go a long way to express generosity. Sharing the results of those phone calls as well as planning them can increase your own family closeness. See The value of Grandparents.
4. Invite Someone Over.
Whether it’s dinner or a game night, the gift of relationship is huge. Allow kids to help plan the time and even pick the guests. Talk in advance about how each person can add to the atmosphere or contribute to the event. Brainstorm ways to bless others by asking what they might like.
5. Prepare a Thank You.
Certainly notes of gratefulness for gifts given is a good practice and can be done as a family. But what about thanking those we commonly take for granted like the mail carrier, the garbage collectors, or even the police or firemen? The family discussion can bring out all kinds of ideas of both whom to thank and how to show appreciation.
This list is only the beginning. I’m sure you have lots of other ideas. Why don’t you share them here in order to help others stimulate giving in their families? See Thankfulness is like a cup of coffee – ideas from Lisa Brown, one of our coaches.
You’ll be surprised at how giving to others can do a lot to enhance the team atmosphere in your own family.
You can read more about this idea in the book, “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids” by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.