This Christmas marks the third year my "middle" son has asked to hold a food drive for Christmas. It's a miraculous thing to see that on a Christmas wish list. Last year's drive doubled what his first year had collected. This year, he's hoping to double again, and he's well on his way.
His friends and family rally behind him. We've had people we've never met, who saw our post on Facebook, hold collections for him. My former high school teachers have sent monetary donations, and the Hockey Association put him front page and the teams are gathering food for him. It is an amazing time of year to see this kind of giving.
Of course, when you ask a 12-year-old why they do something like this, you get a shoulder shrug. "I don't know." So one day I sat him down, and I asked him, why do you want to do this? We've never needed the food bank's help, so this isn't first hand. There aren't a lot of kids who go to school and brag about needing it either; that's something usually kept very quiet. So why does he do this? Tears still spring to my eyes when I think about his answer. "I took my queue from you, Mom."
I can't remember the birthday exactly, but I think it was when he and his twin brother turned 4, we had our big BBQ/Birthday party. (My birthday is the day before theirs.) In the past when their older brothers had parties and people spent their hard earned money to buy my kids gifts, they didn't make it very long (the gift that is.) Toys are quickly ruined or discarded. I didn't want that again. I thought there had to be something better. There had to be a way to give back instead of take. So we had a food drive that year instead of gifts.
The first year we donated to the local food bank where my mother knew the lady that ran it. She put the boys on the scale first and weighed them. Then she weighed the food. The brought in double their weight. The next year they did the same.
He'd remembered that, and he wanted to build on what I'd shown him.
Now the food drive is his, and he's the voice behind it. Our friend works at the bigger food bank, and she guides us along the way. When we deliver the donations, she lets him be there and weigh it and then gives him a tour of the facility to show him where his donations will end up.
Sometimes our lessons are bigger than we think they are.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
Bernadette Marie is the mother of 5 sons (12,14,14,17,19), a bestselling author, publisher, speaker, event planner, blogger, CEO of 2 companies, and a 2nd degree blackbelt. Often asked how she manages a family of seven, she offers up her advice on home, school, travel, and so much more. Her philosophy is that parenthood is never perfect, but the bumps along the way are what make the best memories.