Posted by: Susan | November 16, 2010

What can you do with an empty shoe box?

What can you do with an empty shoe box?  Hopefully you can teach your child with down syndrome about giving to others.

We had a busy day on Sunday at church.  One of the things going on has been families filling up a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child.  Each family that participates fills the empty box with small toys, hygiene items, books and perhaps a hat or t-shirt.  On Sunday those boxes were collected and placed at the front of the church.  There were hundreds of boxes given. 

But let’s go back to Saturday where I took the boys to Kmart to buy things to put in that box.  I thought this would be a great idea to have them pick out what went inside.  To explain while we went along how those boxes might be the only present a child gets.  How the boxes are being sent all over the world.  You get the picture.  In my mind I thought this would be a perfect teachable moment… then we entered the store!  They weren’t too bad as we navigated through the overstuffed kids clothes aisle.  We headed to the shoe aisle and that is where I started to lose them.  They discovered the bikes, skate boards and helmets.  On to the toys where they discovered everything they wanted for Christmas and a couple of Star Wars guns to play with.  ” Look guys what do you think of this for the shoe box?”  Mama say what?  When I started dragging them out of the toy section we rounded an aisle to find all the decorated Christmas trees.  You can guess what happened.  After paying for everything and having to tell them, “No, you can’t have that Steelers team shirt”, the one they place in the aisle on the way out, I made it to the car.  I am thinking to myself, “Am I really teaching them anything?”   They had lost their focus of giving to others.

April took the shoe box up to the front during the 9:30 service because the boys were in Sunday School.  We stayed for the next service to watch the children’s Thanksgiving program and the boys watched other people taking the boxes up front.  Sometime this week I will get on the website to Operation Christmas Child and show them pictures of the kids that actually get those boxes.  But here is the best part.  On Saturday all 3 kids and I will go back to the church, load up as many boxes as we can stuff in my minivan, and drop them off at the distribution center.  They will see thousands of those boxes, other volunteers and hopefully the truck that will take them to the next place on their journey around the world. 

My point to this story.  We all need to be taught how to give to others.  It is not a one time deal.  Our kids can get distracted and lose their focus of what they are doing but we must keep teaching them anyway.  Using tangible, visible methods works best.  See it, touch it, carry to the car, carry it to the building. 

We left Jake at church on Sunday to go out with the Youth Group.  They were going to rake leaves for the elderly people in our church.

Helping and giving to others………………a very important life skill to teach over and over again.

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