Monday, December 6, 2010

A Christmas Story...

Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

This is what I was taught...
to do this in private that only God and I knew...
and for me that wasn't hard at all...
so when I had children...
who, were so greedy...
I just didn't know what to do...

I took them to Walmart to shop for their grandparents...
I thought they were old enough to do it alone...
so I gave them the money and told Doug to watch his brother very closely...
they grabbed a cart and headed off while I sat on the bench by the front door...
we had talkedabout ideas on the way to town...
now this was a half hour drive...
so you can imagine my shock when I spy them in line...
with a cart full of toys...
footballs...
cars...
I was so mad...
I wanted to take them back and get a refund...
there was no way these were my kids...
where had I gone so wrong?
well, we made a trip back to toy land...
dropped off their picks...
put back the cart and headed home...
in dead silence...
I prayed all the way home for an answer...
how do I teach them to give freely?
I had failed so badly...
and he gave me an idea...
I went straight to our bank and marched those little brats in there...
there was an angel tree with all these little names on it...
I told them if you want to shop for toys...
you can shop for toys...
then, you are going to give them all away...
you should have seen the looks on their faces...
they thought I had lost it...
but I made each boy get a tag with a boy his age on it...
and we went back to Walmart...
on the way I told them how much I had intended on spending on them...
and that each one was going to spend $20 of his own Christmas money...
that would mean $20 of toys they would not be getting...
then Craig asked a question...
why wasn't his name on the tree...
so I told him why the names were there...
both of my boys were amazed that there were children who might not have toys for Christmas...
and that they were very lucky that they always had a nice Christmas...
by the time they got back to Walmart...
they were so excited to being able to play Santa for someone else...
but we made rules that first time...
no battery operated toys...
at least one good sturdy toy that would last...
a chocolate Santa, gloves, a hat and coloring book and crayons were always a must...
and then we finished up with what money was left...
we would bring our treasures home and wrap each one...
we put each child's toys in a bag and put the angel tag back on it...
they were so happy to share with someone else...
and they would head to the bank and carefully place their bags under the tree...

and I prayed some more...
and it was a real struggle for me...
but how could they learn if they didn't see me do it...
so, I started letting them in on the little things I do...
and we never passed a kettle without putting something in it...
you know, those little buggers caught on fast!

and so it began...
something we still share to this day...
doing things in secret...
we are the ones behind the scenes...
and if I did my job well...
they will pass this onto their kids...

our children learn by what we do...
they watch us all the time...
it doesn't matter what you tell them if you don't back it up...
and they will grow up and be just like you...
share yourself and your secrets with your children and grand children...
it's how they learn...

I have a peace about it now...
using examples to help teach others...
I will never tell everything...
because as mom would say...
that would be tootin' my own horn...
just the ones that might make a difference...

your children with either grow up to be selfish or generous...
it's up to you...

7 comments:

Prior said...

this is a great post full of truth! Lezlee

Donna said...

That is awesome, Tete! You gave your boys an incredible, priceless gift! I wish more people would think like this!!

Joanne said...

That is a beautiful Christmas story ... should in one of those little Christmas books they publish. A lesson for all.

Donnie said...

That was a lovely post and so needed in this world today.

Cheryl~ZanyMayd said...

Beautiful Job Tete ~ with the Story & Life Lesson for Your Sons..... I can Never pass a Little Red Kettle without putting something in it, I learned that from My Mom & Grandma.....

BTW ~ I am clearing out the storage closet, what type of books are you looking for, do you want ones with Covers to use the Old Covers, or is it the Book Pages that you Need (Paper Art?)
Let me know.....
xox
Cheryl

Debbie said...

Hi Tete...you "walk your talk"..I so much enjoyed this post today. My girls learned to give like this very young...hopefully they will pass it on to their own children.
God Bless you my sweet friend.
Debbie@lakehouse

Lynette Killam said...

This is a remarkable post, Tete...one of the most touching I've ever read. I imagine many of us have stuggled in our efforts to foster a giving attitude in our children. Your story is a lovely reminder of why we need to do so...you've said it wonderfully, and you so clearly know what really matters in the world...:)