The art of giving and its rewards
When my children were younger I was on the advisory board of the Salvation Army Service Center in Bainbridge. As a board member, I had the opportunity to help coordinate the Christmas Kettle Drive and I was assigned the Harvey’s location. I organized volunteers to ring the bell and in the time slots not taken I would ring the bell myself, with my children.
Kaylee was seven and Caroline was four when we began our bell-ringing duties and for years this was a very important part of our holiday season. I would ring the bell, Kaylee would pass out the candy and thank you cards and Caroline would sing every single Christmas carol she knew. I’m sure it was a sight to see. Our bell ringing sessions were very special moments for me and they helped to instill some of the reasons for the season, sharing with and caring for others, in the lives of my children and in mine.
When my children were older, we started adopting a family for the holidays. The Salvation Army provided the names, sizes and needs for a local family and my two daughters and I would put together gift boxes filled with the needed items. My daughters would select and give some of their own toys and we would buy some additional ones along with items of clothing.
Then on Christmas Eve, my two little holiday elves and I would deliver the gifts along with a complete Christmas dinner with all the trimmings to our adopted family. I will never forget those Christmas Eve deliveries. The looks and smiles on the faces of the family, especially the
children, as we arrived gave us a wonderful feeling of selfless gratitude; however, the looks and smiles on the faces of my own two daughters made the moments absolutely priceless and extraordinarily special. On those Christmas Eves that warm and fuzzy feeling of unconditional love and sharing overwhelmed us, consumed our thoughts and made us better people.
Finances today have dimmed my holiday giving but my desire to give continues to glow brightly. When I walked by a Salvation Army Kettle last Saturday, I pulled out a dollar and as I was folding it to place it in the kettle, I selfishly thought this dollar could by a drink or help to pay one of my bills. Shame on me! I dismissed the thought, placed my dollar in the kettle and made a return trip to the kettle on the way out and deposited all my loose change. Sometimes we get so caught up in the material world of life that we forget that bountiful existence is based on selfless giving and in order for us to receive we must first give.
As fathers and parents we hope that our actions positively influence the actions of our children. I am proud to be a father of two very special and selfless young adults.
Just last week, my daughter Caroline was in Tampa for the Atlanta Falcons game. She had eighty dollars in her purse on the day she was returning to Donalsonville; however, she felt the need to give sixty dollars to a family in need she met on the side of the street.
When my daughter was telling me the story of this family, tears of pride in my daughter began streaming down my face. I am so very proud to be my daughters’ father.
Here’s hoping you have an absolutely wonderful holiday season.
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