Monday, December 22, 2008

Season of Giving

Several years ago, I was the recipient of a Random Act of Kindness. At a grocery store where we sack our own groceries, the customer standing across the counter from me opened a paper grocery sack and deliberately placed it in front of me, ready for my groceries. It made me smile, and gave me a light heart for the rest of the day. What a small thing it was, but what a big difference it made for me! Now, more than ten years later, I still think of it occasionally.

This year, our family decided to make a conscious effort to reach out to others with a giving spirit. When we were together at Thanksgiving, we talked about it, with a plan to come back together at Christmas and share our giving stories. Some were random acts of kindness, others helped when or where they saw a need. In all, we felt blessed in giving, and determined to do more next year. We hope to be teaching our children more about giving, and it was a highlight of our family Christmas get-together this past weekend. One story led to another, and brought up some things we hadn't even thought about as being part of this family project. Here are some of the stories that were told when we gathered last Saturday:
  • While on a weekend trip, one family was talking and praying about what they could do for this giving project. Before they arrived home, they found a way to help. Seeing a woman on the ground, they stopped to help, calling 911 and contacting family members. Another need came up with the lady's family a little later, and because it was their phone that had been used, they were called when a question arose. They returned to the scene, and driving a car for the one in need, helped calm the driver, and reunited the young child involved with his mother.
  • One person received two gift cards as a prize from a blog, and passed them on to another as a way of Paying it Forward.
  • A former foster child filled the Christmas wishes of a child currently in foster care.
  • One saved an elderly man from sending $2000 of his savings to an unknown person in Canada, thinking it was his granddaughter in need. (It was a scam, which he found out after he was encouraged to call his granddaughter. As it turned out, she was not in Canada, but still in her home town.)
  • Young girls bought carousel tokens, and offered them to children in the mall, so they could ride the carousel.
  • One family knew (through their workplace) of a particular family in need, and anonymously gave McDonald's gift cards to each child, and a WalMart card for the parents, to help them provide Christmas gifts or Christmas dinner for their family.
  • One child made a hand-made Christmas gift for a child who wasn't able to be at home for Christmas.
  • One family anonymously gave a gift card to a recently widowed woman and her infant child.

Ben suggested we not wait until the next Christmas season -- but continue making a conscious effort to be givers, and come prepared with our giving stories every time we have a family gathering. I agree, and we'll check with the others about it, too.

I hesitated to write about this project, as most of the giving was done anonymously, but because we were inspired by another to give, we hope these stories will encourage you to look for ways to touch someone's life. Surely you have some time, some creativity, or some funds that could make a difference for someone else. You will be blessed in doing so!


Ours said...

Beautiful! thanks for sharing and inspiring!

FAScinated said...

I'm glad you posted it. Thank you for sharing these inspiring stories!