This past weekend, my husband and I were eating lunch with my two stepchildren when Chloe, our seven-year-old, asked to eat what Daddy was eating.
Background: She was on her third bowl of macaroni and cheese.
“No, Chloe,” I told her. “You’ve had enough macaroni, you don’t need anything else.”
“Aw, man,” she pouted, and took a sip of her milk.
“Hey, you should be thankful, baby,” my husband said. “There are too many kids out there who don’t get anything to eat.”
And so started one of the most important conversations we’ve ever had with Chloe.
Immediately, she burst into tears because she thought she was in trouble. When we cleared that up, David and I took the next twenty minutes to explain to her just how lucky she was. We talked about basic provisions and how our family has more than what we need. We talked about Mommies and Daddies who have to watch their babies go hungry because they don’t have any money to go to the grocery store.
After a few minutes of talking, Chloe asked me why I looked like I was about to cry.
“Because,” I said. “It breaks my heart that there are little girls out there as beautiful and as smart as you that haven’t eaten in two weeks.”
And that started her on the tears.
David told her all the ways we could help, but we realized we really needed to talk more about it when Chloe said, after David mentioned spending money on groceries for those who can’t afford it, that using our money to help others would be like “throwing a hundred dollars out the window”.
We did damage control on that immediately. NO idea where she got that idea, but we talked her out of it. We explained to her and her little brother, Trey, that this holiday season, we were going to give back to those who needed it. We were going to work in our church’s soup kitchen, we were going to buy presents for little boys and girls who don’t have any toys and we were going to take the extra money we didn’t need to help provide for another family.
Apparently they both got it because a few minutes later, our four-year-old suggested that we give his old four wheeler to a little boy who doesn’t have one. Chloe’s idea? “Can’t we just adopt all the kids that need a home?”
Oh my heart.
So this season, we’re working hard on showing our kids just how lucky they are. We want them to know that it’s incredibly important to give back, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, simply because we can. I want her and her brother to grow up knowing that their three meals a day, their toys and clean clothes and shoes that fit are not always guaranteed to others.
I want them to think of other people when they’re happy, warm and fed.
How do you teach your kids to be thankful? Will your family be donating time, money or food this holiday season?
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