Years ago, before I was married, I learned of an program called Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is a non-profit organization that inspires millions of people like you and me to pack a shoe box- a simple, basic shoe box- for children in developing countries around the world. When you think about it, a basic shoe box is not very large. It doesn’t hold all that much- and yet it can hold a lot. OCC even tells you how to pack a shoe box One thing I like about OCC is that you can really make a difference without having to spend a lot of money– which means it’s a program that more families are able to participate in on the giving end. I have found that many people feel as if they don’t have very much to give and don’t feel like their donations can or will make a difference- but with programs like Operation Christmas Child, you can really do a lot with a little. When I first participated in Operation Christmas Child, I chose to fill two boxes- one for a girl and one for a boy. I figured I’d be making a difference in the lives of two children, not one, and set off to ask my nieces and nephews about things they thought would be fun and or practical with the rule that they’d have to fit into a shoe box. The answers they gave surprised me. At first, they gave me silly answers, and then as they thought more about it, some really great ideas. Fast forward several years, and here I am, married, with three children who are now old enough to help ME pack boxes for my family to send along to some children in need. We did our first box together, the kids and I, over the weekend. We chose to do a box for a little boy, because my son really wanted to fill a box first this year. What did we decide to put in? A superhero cape, because, as my son said, Superheroes go everywhere and you can do lots of stuff with a cape on, and even be extra brave. A fun toothbrush, kid toothpaste, and some flossers (my children have an obsession with flossers!). A few toys, a box of pencils, a box of colored pencils and a pencil sharpener with some lollipops and our box is set to go. We have two more boxes to fill this year- we decided together that we would fill one box for each of our kids. (If you aren’t sure what to put into a box, you can find lots of ideas on the Operation Christmas Child site).
One thing that’s very important to me as a parent is to instill a desire to help others, to do for others, no matter how much we have ourselves. It teaches them so many lessons each time we participate in paying something forward, or a random act of kindness- or a specific mission like this program. I believe that children very much learn by doing, so we’re trying to lead by example so they grow up with these actions and behaviors as part of their lives.
How do you teach your children to give to others?
Donations are accepted year round and can be sent to:
Operation Christmas Child
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607
This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.