Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Season of Giving



That is my all time favorite church song.  As an adult, I attended a particular church for a while mostly because they sang this song every Sunday at the end of the service.  And, I loved the pastor.  He was like a loving grandfather, welcoming everyone into his humble home.  Even heathens like me. :)

December first marks, for many, the beginning of the holiday season.  The season of giving.  But, sadly, I truly believe that this “season of giving” has become much more of a “season of shopping, stressing, and spending”.  I’m trying so hard this year, as I watch my daughters grow, and pray they don’t get jaded to that “giving” part, to focus on the spirit and heart of the season. 

Hell.  When I think of it that way, who needs a season? 

I want my girls to be givers.  I want them to be filled with hearts overflowing with love for their family, friends, and fellow humans.  I want them to care about the world and the people and the air, the water, the trees, the wind, the clouds in the sky, and butterflies and puppies and apples.  I do not want them to wander lonely through this world with clear vision only as far as the end of their own nose.  I do not want them to view their beliefs, their thoughts, their needs as supreme and righteous, but rather, as one of many valid perspectives. 

Not only do I want them to love and care for others, but I want them to love and care for themselves.  I want more for them than I have been able to give to myself.  I see them through mother’s eyes: eyes that see clearly every fault and every virtue – and love them just the way that they are.  They’re perfect, even their imperfections. 

Over and over and over again I’ve preached to BigGirl, “All I expect is that you do the best you can do,” so much that she now cuts me off and finishes the sentence with that annoyed tone we’ve all used with our mothers.  The one that sounds like the teachers and parents on Charlie Brown.  The one that says, “Would you stop saying that already?”  But it’s true.  I expect her to do her best at everything.  Everything.  Not just school work and dance, but friendship.  Sisterhood. Being a daughter and a dog owner.  Being a citizen of the Earth. 

I have a friend who told me once that when her daughters were young she told them, “When you lie to me, I can see crosses in the back of your eyes.”  She also said, “Even when Mommy and Daddy can’t see you, God is always watching.”  (No offense, folks…but see what I mean about being Catholic?) 

I want them to carry God, Buddha, the Golden Rule, karma, whatever it is they decide to believe in one day, in their hearts always.  I want them to be proud of their every decision – or at least 99% of them.  I want them to sleep well at night knowing they gave to the world.  They made a difference in someone’s life each day.

I read this article today that discussed the importance of giving.  It’s important in ways you may not have suspected.  I’d like to try this project, and I would love it if you would join me. 

Give a “gift” everyday for a month.

Mind you, “gifts” aren’t always tied in pretty paper and ribbons.  A gift, says the article, could be simply saving the last piece of cake for your husband.  Or, perhaps you go out of your way to make your children their favorite meal one night.  Perhaps you give your change to a neighbor’s or friend’s child.  Perhaps you volunteer your time in a classroom – helping someone other than your own child.  Maybe you bring your co-worker coffee unexpectedly one day.  The bottom line is – do something thoughtful and nice for someone without expecting anything in return, other than perhaps a smile and a “thank you”.

I’m going to try it.  I hope you will too.

Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.


  1. I adore this song. (I also frequented a synagogue once mostly because of its music. I think there's a lot to be said for the power of music and spirituality, but that's another conversation.)

    This post gave me warm fuzzies all around. A month of giving is such a great idea, and I'm proud of you for trying it. I hope you'll keep us posted on how it goes.

  2. If all I have to do is give Jed the last piece of cake, I've been verrrry generous.


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