As I mentioned on the Facebook wall last week, one of my goals is for my boys to have more thankful hearts. It’s definitely a work in progress, especially this time of year when the, “Gimme,gimme,” syndrome seems to be especially catchy.
I can tell you for sure that long, boring lectures do not seem to have much effect.
What seems to work a bit better is doing family projects together to help others.
Today I have two suggestions, but I’d love to hear yours as well.
The first is Operation Gratitude, which is a wonderful program that allows you to write thank-yous to active duty members of the military, including wounded soldiers and veterans of any war. I meant to mention this program last week in conjunction with Veteran’s Day, but really-isn’t it a nice idea to let our veterans know that they’re appreciated more than once or twice a year?
Operation Gratitude also takes some very particular items as donations. Now, because of security issues you do need to carefully follow the directions about how to address your mail and what to send, so look over the information carefully. I know you can handle it. I found out about this program through reader Rae, via my friend Jeanne (got that?) . Rae has a lot of thoughtful things over at her blog I think you’ll enjoy.
Another project that would be fun to do with your kids this time of year is Operation Christmas Child. This is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse that delivers a shoebox full of small toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to children in some of the most desperate parts of the world. This is collection week, and you can find local drop-off locations right here. Again, there are some very particular rules about how to pack your shoebox and what can be included, so do make sure to read those. What I like about this idea is that even your younger children should be able to help with purchasing small items, and I think many will “get,” the message that this one box may be all a child just like them owns in the world. This is a Christian organization that also does mission work and evangelism. If you’re not comfortable with that, you may want to look for another charity.
If you have another great service project that involves the whole family, I’d love to hear about it!