by Summer Brill
As the Holidays are approaching, my 4 year old is really getting in the spirit…of presents! Getting presents that is. He is all of four years old and fully embraces the material aspect of the Holidays, so we felt that now is a good time to start to instill in him the spirit of giving and helping others.
I was inspired by some of the stories we heard from our guest speaker in November, Poppy Pembroke, from the Second Harvest Food Bank. She spoke of a little girl who after learning that some children in the Bay Area do not have enough food to eat on a daily basis decided to take action. She plays her violin in front of Safeway and collects donations that she gives to Second Harvest Food Bank. We don’t expect our four year old to learn an instrument and collect donations, but we do feel that now is a good time to expose him to the spirit of helping others.
We started a conversation with him (after he rattled off his latest wish list) that some children are in situations where they don’t have many toys for different reasons. Apparently we weren’t the first in the family to broach this subject with him, because he responded with, “mommy, I know, I can give some of my toys to some kids who need them!” I suspect my father had this conversation with him earlier, I’ll have to ask him!
We went to my son’s bedroom and he was enthusiastic about choosing some toys to donate, although he did have a few second thoughts and realized he now really LOVES this toy or that one. He is still four after all. But in the end, he chose all the toys to donate and we ended up with three shopping bags between he and his brother.
I called Haven House and they take gently loved toys for their childcare center and residents. We went over to Haven House after school today and were greeted by Nicole. She works at the reception desk at Haven House and is very friendly and helpful. Jack gave her his shopping bags and told her some important facts about a few of the toys: “this one takes batteries, this one has a small car in it that you can zoom around, and this one sings the ABC’s”.
It was a great experience for us and my son seemed happy with the process and the outcome.