One of the things I try to instill into Elijah is the importance of having a servant’s heart. In a world of so many things being thrown at us constantly it’s sometimes hard for us let alone children to stop and think of others.
Elijah just turned 5 and I felt it was a great opportunity to take our actions to the next level. For his birthday party we asked in lieu of gifts for Elijah to bring an unwrapped gift for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
I have mentioned to people in the past that I have wanted to do this and it was always met with opposition. People said things like “ You can’t force people to give,” or “but I want to give him something.” I have even heard things like “Why would you force that on a child?” Trust me we are not depriving our child. If anything we are giving him something much more than material things.
I don’t know about your kids but Elijah literally plays with the same 5 things over and over. Also I don’t think many realize how much more impactful this will be on him in the long run. This is a HUGE gift to give Elijah, something that will not be fleeting or thrown away one day. He will remember the importance of giving and that is something you can’t put a value on. Even science is on the side of giving. Pleasure chemicals are released from our brain when we give! We all know how great it feels when we give why not share that with our kids!
It’s amazing when you do the right thing how things line up. One of my friends Jasmine came to me at Elijah’s party and told me that her son had spent a lot of time in the hospital last year and that picking out a toy to play with made things a lot better for him. I had no idea about this before she told me. Whether we got 1 toy or 10 toys it really drove home that we had made the right decision for our family.
Here are some other ways you can teach your little one about servant hood and giving.
Get one Give one: Who doesn’t love to get rid of things. We started off with this in our household. Whenever Elijah would get a new gift or toy he would have to pick something to donate. Trust me it wasn’t easy at first but now it is so easy and sometimes he just wants to get rid of things he doesn’t use on his own when we clean his room.
Find a cause that your kid likes. If your kid is into the outdoors maybe take him or her somewhere where they can plant trees or help out. If they love animals taking them to the local animal shelter is also a great option. Have a kid that loves to make things have them make cards to cheer up the elderly. Focusing on what your child interests makes it fun after all giving should always be fun and come from the heart!
Having open conversation & be an example. Kids are normally selfish beings and that’s totally normal! From the moment they are born their needs are met without them having to do much asking. It’s completely up to us as parents to have conversations about the world around us. Kids are also very sensitive so obviously tailor the conversation to what you feel your child can handle. Sometimes when I give to a homeless person Elijah gets confused and asks “ But why did you give him your soup? You wanted that soup?” I have explained to him that there are a lot of people that don’t have some of the things we have, then he understood. You can start the conversation first about doing things for others around the house to show love, and then take it a step further about reaching out to people outside of the home.
Ask for donations for their birthday. We choose the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for our donations because I felt it fit our family the best. A lot of charities and or hospitals have wishlists via Amazon or on their personal websites. Elijah was born with a congenital heart defect but has never spent any time in the hospital, and with February being heart month it just made sense. Another great charity is Communi Gift where you get a birthday buddy with a birthday wish list. Your birthday guests can buy gifts for your birthday buddy.
Overall Elijah had a great birthday! My big boy is 5!!! He had a blast with friends and family at THE COOP and of course he got a couple of gifts from family members. Here are some more pics from Elijah’s birthday
What are some ways you instill giving with your family? Drop us a line below!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms 1 Peter 4:10