Last year, I took MiniMac to the toy store and let him pick out 20 gifts we would then take to my office for a toy collection my company sponsored. I had been talking to him for years about charity and giving but let me assure you, a 2 year old does not necessarily want to pick out toys and give them away, unopened and waiting for eager hands to fully explore. Last year, he did great. While taking the elevator up to my office, a woman asked if he was on his way to work. Mini explained he was too little to work. A man asked if the bags of toys belonged to him. Mini replied, "These toys are for other kids. If you have more than you need, you should share." I almost cried on the spot.
This year, I wanted to expand our toy purchase into "Five Acts of Kindness." We discussed what we would do, and more importantly why.
In the simplest of terms, I told him kindness has a ripple effect. You impact one person, they in turn impact another, and so on. It works in both the positive and negative. He thought earnestly about the message and took it in. Some of our choices for how to complete this task on Saturday included delivering 4 dozen cookies to our local fire station, a charity Christmas tree farm, our bank, and a carwash service. At each location, MiniMac simply handed the cookies over and said, "Happy Holidays." He was able to witness first hand how the smallest gesture can be grandly received. (PS: I am confident a woman at the carwash that spilled out of a car, tripped over a twig on her way to approach us to tell us about the "Crunk Cinderella" show she was in had definitely ingested some magical chemicals. And I don't mean magic like the elves make. Apparently, everyone absorbs Holiday Cheer differently.) (PSS: I dont exactly know what CRUNK is but I am quite certain it is less like "broccoli" or "pure thoughts" and more like "Sizzzerp" or "Crack". In the car, MiniMac said, "She was funny."
We also went to the toy store and made enough purchases to fill the entire backseat of my car. We took them to a local shelter where MiniMac explained to the Director what we were doing. The Director clearly knew but had a sweet conversation about it anyway. And he did tell me he doesn't see kids quite this young involved.
I will add it was quite tricky to again have the conversation about how all children don't get toys when Mini asked, "But doesn't Santa bring toys to everyone who is not on the naughty list?"
But how that went down is a blog post for another day.
Finally, we went to Starbucks and purchased a gift card simply to give to the woman behind us. She responded with such delight, her and MiniMac stood there and laughed together for several minutes. (He was only laughing because she was laughing and smiling. She was laughing in that deep down, shimmy and shake, full of soul kind of laugh that is simply awesome.)
When we drove home, I asked Mini how he felt. "My heart feels good, Mom." Amen.
Later that night, MiniMac hugged me and said, 'What an amazing day. I loved our day of sharing. "
Me too, little man, me too.
I hope you read 31 Days of Goodness below and pick ONE thing to do. Hope your holiday season has kicked off beautifully.