The Giving Season
When my son was little, we lived right around the corner from a nursing home. Could there be a purpose for us up at that nursing home? Having grandparents who had lived in similar facilities, I knew many of the folks living in these places did not always have visitors. One day I decided to wander in there, my son strapped into his little backpack carrier, and asked if they would ever like to have us come “play” a couple of days a week with some of their residents. The director was receptive and offered to bring a few residents into their common room and we’d see what happened.
My son and I started going regularly. It was delightful, heartbreaking and fulfilling all at the same time. We would bring a ball and roll it around the room, each person thrilled to be included in this little game. My son played “patty-cake” about a thousand times and never got tired of it, laughing and giggling and making funny faces. We started visiting a few special friends in their rooms when they just wanted to talk or hold hands. I will never forget how this small amount of time and effort translated into making someone else’s day sweeter.
It made us sweeter too. It gave us back things I could never have foreseen. It was time together with my son, hearing wonderful stories that these people all shared with us – so much wealth in character and wisdom. We certainly weren’t changing the world or even anyone’s life, but we were making someone’s day and all enjoying this special time together.
I guess my point here would be the idea that giving doesn’t have to be an elaborate event – sometimes it can be right in your own backyard – literally. Spending a small amount of time thinking of ways to give with your kids can open up avenues and opportunities you may never have considered. It will hopefully make them think and realize the fundamental purpose of giving. The greatest outcome would be learning to give thanks for the gifts we all have to share anytime of the year.