It’s easy to get caught up in gift buying this time of year. Everywhere we turn we are greeted with ads, sales, discounts and door busters. Festive décor welcomes shoppers, and cinnamon scented pinecones set the mood, somehow loosening the purse strings.
It’s fun to give brightly wrapped packages to those we care about. A squeal, a smile, the thanks, and even tears of joy are an immediate reward and a powerful motivator to keep giving.
But spending money isn’t the only way to give meaningful gifts. Some of the most heartfelt and valuable gifts come from the service we offer when we give the gift of time.
Not only does our time help and bless the lives of organizations and individuals, it can also give our children a strong foundation for community giving, and it teaches them to look outside of their own lives every once in a while. But beware, this type of parental teaching can become more challenging to introduce the older a child gets.
Kristina Martin, Christian education coordinator and youth director at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Vancouver points out that when many of us were growing up, we didn’t have the lure of the screen to compete with other types of activities. “Any activity just needed to be more fun than homework, and we were there,” she says. Now, trying to get kids to do something new can be a challenge. Most of the teens she works with, however, usually end up having a great time volunteering, even if they were reluctant to go at first.
Vancouver mother, Lisa Nelski is starting her little volunteers off young. She brings her 3- and 4-year-old, plus her baby, with her to community clean-ups organized through the City of Vancouver. She admits their contribution isn’t big, but they’re still getting something meaningful out of it viagra vendre quebec. “One time we were transplanting tree seedlings into bigger pots, and they were only able to do one each before losing interest,” Nelski explains. “They started playing while the rest of us kept working.” She suggests looking for shorter projects and letting the coordinator know your limitations ahead of time. And don’t try to overdo it, or you might risk turning your kids off to volunteering altogether.
If you feel the urge to reach out to the Clark County community this December and give the gift of time, there are many ways to go about it.