Joey and Carla Link
Christmas is a great time of joy, family and celebration. It’s also a time when everything around them encourages your children to think of themselves and only themselves. How do you teach your kids to think of others first this time of year? Jesus said,
“So in everything,
do to others what you would have them do to you.”
At Christmas when the sugar is flowing, the sleep gets less and the anticipation of new toys and lots of extra activities overwhelms your child, this is a great time to test what is in your child’s heart.
- Do they want the biggest piece of pie or will they share with others?
- Do they pout if they don’t get the best gift or best part in the program or rejoice in what others get?
- Do they save up to give a nice gift to a sibling or do they look for the cheapest one?
I remember when I was growing up, my brother saved up to buy a calculator for our sister because she was studying math in college and he thought it would be a help to her. I also remember the stunned look on everyone’s face in the family when she opened it as the cost in the early 70’s was $99! There were no smart phones back then. My brother didn’t think it was a waste of money because she was overjoyed to receive this gift.
Putting others first doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. “So in everything…”
- includes Christmas shopping
- decorating the house
- helping cook, clean, prepare for parties
- helping a sibling wrap gifts
- attending a sibling’s program
“… do to others what you would have them do to you.”
How well do your kids –
- Think of others before they think of what pleases them?
- Seek to help around the house vs. hiding out or doing things that steal your time and attention from what you need to do.
- Have patience to wait their turn to open gifts?
- Show appreciation for what they got instead of getting angry over what they didn’t get
- Show willingness to play games with younger siblings?
These are just a few attitudes and character qualities you could work on over Christmas time and in the New Year. While we would hate to see anyone’s Christmas celebration or time with grandparents destroyed by working too much on what your kids don’t do well at instead of rejoicing in what they do well in. It might be wise to have a family night talk about this before Christmas as a reminder of how your family followers the “golden rule” and ask them how each of them can think of others first.
There were times when we were working on grateful hearts and thinking of others first with our kids that we would put a basket on the coffee table with a small notebook next to it. When a member of the family saw someone else do something for others they were encouraged to write it down and put the paper in the basket which we read around the dinner table one night each week in December.
Your goal should be to help your kids learn that Christmas is not about them but about Jesus.
May you all enjoy the love of our God who gave us His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior so that all who believe in Him will celebrate eternally in Heaven. We hope to see you there someday!
Joey & Carla