Wednesday, October 28, 2009

shoebox lessons

Bloggers Care ButtonLast year, Big Girl and I were invited to an Operation Christmas Child shoebox-wrapping playdate. Big Girl was almost 4, and it was the perfect age to teach her about giving and gratitude.

I explained it simply to her that there are children in another part of the world that don't have much of anything. We are so blessed and so thankful for our life, and wouldn't it be nice to give some things to those children who have nothing? She agreed, and I saw compassion overcome her. She was sad for the children, but excited to give them Christmas gifts.

I took her up to her closet, reminding her that there are some children that don't have closets, or even clothes. We found two empty shoeboxes that were just the right size. I reminded her that there are children that don't have shoes, that have never had an empty shoebox. She looked down at her bare feet, imagining.

At the Dollar Tree, I let her pick out things to fill up the boxes. One for a little boy, and one for a little girl. Both her age. Anything that you would like, let's get it for the children, I told her. It was fun. Together, we put a lot of thought into each little thing that we picked out. A toothbrush and sparkly toothpaste. A headband with a pink bow. A yo-yo and a Slinky. A small box of crayons. A pocket picture Bible. I even let Big Girl pick out the wrapping paper. She chose hot pink Barbie birthday paper for the girl and sailboat-print paper for the boy. She loved it, so I knew they would love it too.

At the shoebox-wrapping playdate, the children buzzed about, showing off what they were putting in their boxes. They wrote notes and drew pictures to stick in their boxes. Big Girl decorated a cross to glue on top of her box. It was amazing to see them, so young and innocent, grasp the simple concept of giving to the needy.

For months after Christmas, long after we shipped our shoeboxes across the world, Big Girl had a giving spirit. She outgrew a nightgown and asked to put it in a shoebox "for the little girl." She got an extra toy in her kiddy meal, examined it, and said yes, it would fit in a shoebox perfectly.

We will participate in Operation Christmas Child again this year. We will use this season of buying and shopping and "I wants" to grow a heart for giving and gratitude.

Sarah at Real Life is hosting an Operation Christmas Child Carnival where bloggers from all over the blogosphere are sharing their OCC experiences. I'm proud to be a part of Bloggers Care! Even if you're new to OCC, you can participate this year, and share what you're looking forward to about the project. Sarah has a video here about how to pack a box, and there is more information about Operation Christmas Child on the website

Have you ever filled a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child? Blog about your OCC shoebox lessons, and link up at Sarah's carnival...there's a Veggie Tale prize involved!

Oh, and giving to children in need WORKS FOR ME! Happy WFMW :)