That's right - October 23. So quickly.
We are already being bombarded by Christmas commercials and merchandise. UGH
Remember when you knew you would just DIE if you didn't get that toy, game, electronic gadget?
Remember when you knew you would just DIE if someone in the office gave you a gift and you didn't have one to give in return?
Remember when you knew you would just DIE if you didn't have the right clothes for the Christmas Dance, the Christmas office bash, the party at the wealthy church family's home?
Yeah, I remember too...silly thoughts
But here is what I know to be true: No matter where we live, we all pass people every single day who have desperate needs. We learn to look through people, to steel ourselves. Sometimes we tell ourselves they are lazy, comfortable in their "entitlements" and beyond help.
And know this: behind every adult we scorn for not pulling his or her own weight, there are almost always kids.
Innocent kids. With no voice.
Maybe they don't attend your child's school. But they exist somewhere within your reach.
Do you really see them?
Do you have any idea how desperate life can be when one or both of your parents is a substance abuser, or a child abuser?
Do you ever stop to imagine how hard life is when your single-parent works two jobs, still can't put food on the table, and is never around just to be Mom or Dad?
Do you have any idea how much you wouldn't care about spelling or algebra when you didn't have a blanket on your bed, or a coat to wear, or breakfast?
No matter what your feelings about "entitlements" are, NO child deserves to have a lousy life.
Think about it.
What would happen if every one of us redirected 25% of our Christmas spending?
What if we choose not to buy for the relative who has everything?
What if we choose not to participate in Secret Santa, choose not to buy a co-worker another coffee mug or Starbucks gift card?
What if we choose to limit what our kids found under the tree (is it REALLY necessary to have every device Apple makes??) and, as a family, shopped for a kid who may not even get an apple.
You're right...some people spend their assistance money unwisely.
THAT ISN'T THE FAULT OF THEIR CHILDREN. Yes, I am yelling about that.
Kids need coats. They need decent clothes - more than one pair of jeans, more than 2 shirts. They need shoes that fit and don't have holes.
Mostly, they need to know someone - anyone - cares.
Are you foolish enough to not consider the societal impact of a kid with no coat, insufficient shoes, nothing but junk food?
Those kids become teenagers who learn how to take what they don't have. Those teenagers become adults lacking in education and job skills...and the cycle repeats.
Opportunities abound. Coat drives, mittens/gloves/hat trees, Angel trees with all the information you need - sizes, favorite color, coveted toy.
You won't need to look far. It won't be hard work...in fact, it may be the most fun you have during this Christmas season!
What if we all decided to be grateful, then be generous?
What if we teach our kids to understand how blessed they are, then SHOW them how to be generous?
What if you changed ONE kid's life? And your co-worker changed ONE kid's life? And your church changed 200 kids' lives?
What if we start a revolution of kindness and caring in our towns? What if making one dream come true helps teach one kid to dream bigger?
You say, what if it doesn't matter?
But what if it does?
Will you join me?
I would love to hear your ideas!
We will talk again soon...