Saturday, January 22, 2011

Birthday Celebrations!

I must admit, I'm an over-concerned mom!  I have loosened up a bit (HA!), but when our children were small there were so many things that I worried about!  It was approaching our son's second birthday and there were two things that were on my mind.  First, he didn't really need anything.  Second, what if he were given something inappropriate from a friend.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "How inappropriate can it be for a 2 year old?"  Remember, I was young!

Anyway, we reached a workable conclusion;  let's collect something and give it away!  Really, that was the thought process at first!  We thought through the idea, refined it a bit, and totally sold him on the idea!  It wasn't hard -- he is our first-born!  Need I say more?  He picked the place and the deal was on!  Instead of presents for Jackson, we would ask for his friends to bring new books to donate to the church library.  Really, it was that simple!  His friends, well really the parents, bought into the idea and a few days after his birthday he delivered a HUGE basket of new books to our church library as a donation!  He felt good and so did we!

Fast-forward several years and the tradition still continues with our kids.  They are so excited to be able to choose a charity and help fulfill a need by asking their friends to join them on the mission.  We have given to our church, the Ronald McDonald House, The Children's Center, and International School in Budapest, Hungary, a Boy's Home, an animal shelter, a pregnancy center, and to Disaster Relief.  Many of the ministries are close to our heart so it's not unusual for our children to give "repeats" to certain organizations!

Here's the take-away:  it's great to teach our children that to celebrate "you" is to celebrate others!  Our needs are met; let's go beyond ourselves and give!

Here's a parent point; there is no focus at the party about "when are we opening gifts?"  There are no hurt feelings and tears from friends because their gift wasn't the "favorite."  There are no returns to make because you already have the thing!  Finally, you don't have worry if your child is getting something inappropriate!  It's a win-win!

Here are some pictures of our recent party!  The girls brought bath toys to donate to The Children's Center in Bethany, OK.  The Children's Center is designed to help the most medically fragile.  They do a fabulous job and we're thankful for the work they do!  Check them out for yourself at http://www.thechildrens-center.org/

Making their journals

The girls making their "s'more snack"to take with them

Front:  Mackenzie, Maddie, Heather
Back:  Mackenzie, MadisonGrace, Lorelei
with their own masterpiece

The girls with a few of the donations.
Together, they are donating 26 new bath toys
to the children at The Children's Center!


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