There is something that makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. If giving was your first thought as of why this season is so wonderful, you would be correct! Giving should be an all year around thing, but we tend to focus on Christmas time to give things to the people we love or to be kind with others. How long this being going on? Well since as far as we can remember. Giving goes way back in human history; it is rooted deep in family values, passed on throughout generations from childhood to adulthood. Since we were little our parents taught us the importance of being grateful for what we have and kind with people who are less fortunate regardless of their circumstances that led them to where they are. As we grow, the responsibility of maintaining this value passes from the parent to the child. If done well, carried on through persistence and leading by example, the values that the parents teach to the child will be carried on in their belief system way into adulthood and for life. If this value was not nurtured during childhood, it will not be carried on into adulthood. It is here where that belief of being grateful and generous with others changes. As we grow, our views in life changes and we judge them based on our own experiences and the experiences of other people. We all have problems of our own, bills to pay and so on that we feel the need of self-gratifying one first and if there is time and resources think of others. We can see this trend everywhere and today’s TV commercials send the word out of “self” first hand to the masses. We see commercials where parents give their kids video games and lots of stuff they already have. The kid’s reply is always the same “you’re the best Dad /Mom ever” and then presents the parent as the “cool parent”. Very few if any shows people giving things or items they don’t need any more to the other less fortunate. You would see this demonstration of generosity in small, local communities. I would like it to see people being generous with others on a national level.
In the meantime, I make sure that my children learn the meaning of being generous with others. With the help of a friend and my sister we planned a little “toys for tots” home drive contacting a family of lower resources and with a lot of children. We asked our children to pick up the toys they like and to give away the toys they no longer use. At first there was no reaction; children cannot comprehend this until they see it. Fortunately there are cartoons on TV that foster generosity and kindness to others. Every time my daughter Karymar watched a cartoon where the characters were nice and kind with each other, I would stress the morale of the story and encourage my daughter to think in ways of how she can help others. However, no matter how much we prepared for it, choosing which toy to give away was not an easy deal. In countless occasions Karymar was unwilling to give away her stuff and it took more time and explanation to convince her to give away some of her toys. At the end, we end up with two bags full of toys to give away.
The day came when we were ready to deliver the toys to the family. When we got there we were literally surrounded by children unaware of why we were there. Entering the house we gather all the children in the living room and after explaining why we were there, they toys were handed to our children which in turn and some reluctantly gave it to the other children. Soon the living room floor was littered with toys; our children and the other kids were talking and showing the toys to each other. I heard my nephew saying something like “oh I had lots of fun with it” while other kids were eyeballing the toys re-considering why they were giving their toys away. Before anyone could back out of the deal and reclaim their old toys, we exit the house leaving the other kids raving about their “new” toys. After saying goodbye, we had a small talk with our kids; congratulate them for a job well done and recalling why we did it. With time and practice, they will get the idea gist of it and soon will be part of their values for ever to be passed on then to their own children.