Like most children, our kids love Christmas! They love the excitement, the fun, and the presents. It’s important to us, though, that they know that the presents are NOT what Christmas is all about. We make an effort to ensure that the focus stays on the birth of Jesus, and we try to teach them about serving and giving to others.
One of the ways we did this with Alex this year is to sign up to ring the Salvation Army bell for an hour. We woke to a cold, damp morning. Just as Alex and I arrived to begin our one hour shift, the rain started coming down pretty hard. We were bundled up, though, and we had a good time!
Alex wasn’t too sure what to expect, and he stood rather quietly for the first few minutes, gently shaking the bell whenever someone walked by.
A friend happened to be making a quick trip to the grocery store, and she glanced over and saw Alex. She was our first “giver” of the day. Once someone had placed a few coins in his bucket, Alex got a little more enthusiastic. He’d watch for people to walk our way, and then he would shake that bell with all his might. He got lots of smiles, and he began to receive $5 bills from quite a few people. (I don’t know if that’s common or not, but I do know that we usually just put in some loose change.) People driving through the parking lot would slow down and hand a few dollar bills out the window. One lady told Alex to hold the bell upside down, and she filled it with change. That was cute!
Of course, there are always people who walk by as if you’re not standing there. Maybe they’ve given elsewhere, maybe they don’t have change…who knows…maybe they just don’t like to give for some reason. This bothered Alex, and he’d shake his bell even harder and quietly say, “I don’t think they can hear the bell, Mama!”
Towards the end of our shift, Daddy stopped by with Max & Jensyn and Grandma & Papa stopped by as well.
After we finished, we hurried home to warm up and get some hot chocolate. I asked Alex what he thought about ringing the bell, and he said, “I liked it, but I think Max should take a turn next year.”
We may do just that next year if the opportunity presents itself. One chilly hour of serving and making a difference for others really isn’t too much for a preschooler…and I hope that Alex learned a lot through this experience!