Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I convinced my son to give up his gift card

My son received a ten dollar gift card in the mail from a relative for Christmas. He is still a child, but he is old enough to appreciate money. So when he received the card, I mistakenly thought he would be excited to be able to go pick out his own present.

Instead to my disappointment, he scoffed at the present and said "I can't buy anything for $10! Why didn't they send me a $25 card?"

I was very disappointed in his behavior. My son was acting like a spoiled brat and I was not ready to let this behavior stand. Especially after the week before he had told me he wanted to help out poor children in other countries.

I understand that kids go through a "me" phase, where the world revolves around them, at least in their mind. However that is a fantasy and one that I do not want to indulge. The world's culture does not look kindly on people who think the world revolves around their every whim. So I do not want to encourage my child to think the world owes him, because it does NOT.

Do I want my child to be happy? God yes! But I want him to grow up to be a responsible and respectful young man. That is even more important to me. So, after speaking with his father, we decided that if he could not appreciate the gift that was given to him, that gift should be given to someone who could appreciate it.

Our first thought was to use the gift card to buy for the local angel tree. However, they had finished the day before. So we decided to stop by the church and offer it as a way to help someone less fortunate.

Before we left, we gently explained to my son that we wanted him to give his gift card to the church and that they would find someone who could use it. We explained that there were families like the one he saw at a Christmas Carol. Families that could not even afford a good Christmas meal. And that his gift card could help someone else buy food, clothes, or even a small toy for Christmas. We talked to him about how fortunate our family was this year, and how other families were still struggling, that those families needed help and he could be that help for them. Just like he wanted to help poor children in other countries, he could help poor children now, by giving his gift card to help.

Hesitantly, my son agreed to part with his gift card. So on the Sunday before Christmas, we took his card and ten dollars in cash to the church and gave it to the pastor to use to help a family struggling this Christmas. He gave it freely, and did not whine or complain. In fact when I asked afterwards how it felt to give the gift card away to help someone else, he told me he felt really good about it.

I am very proud of him! That is the young man I want him to grow up to be. Kind, loving, considerate, and giving from the heart! :)

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