There is something special about December that makes you want to be gentler and kinder.
With Christmas just around the corner, our days are filled with festive cheers. We are busy putting up Christmas decorations and trees, shopping and wrapping presents for family and friends, planning our vacation and stocking up for the cheery occasion… In the midst of all the fun and cheers, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to introduce the sharing of a little goodwill with my kids.
When a good friend shared with me about her church’s involvement to pack and send Christmas Care packages to the needy in our neighbourhood, I thought it was a good learning opportunity for my kids.
Packing Day – Friday Evening
- A 5kg packet of rice
- A small bottle of cooking oil
- A packet of salt
- A packet of biscuit
- A packet of ground coffee
- A pack of noodles
- A packet of peanuts
- A can of beans
The Day of Delivery – Saturday Morning
Ominous dark clouds loomed over us as we set off to deliver the Christmas Care Packages, followed by heavy, heavy rain! Instead of being discouraged, church members exclaimed cheerfully that this was a shower of blessings!
Everyone remained optimistic and in good spirits despite the heavy downpour.
So what did we gain from the experience?
Aside from the obvious lessons of staying positive in spite of the rain and the usual caring and sharing mantra, I felt it was an eye-opener for my kids to see the physical conditions and listen to some of the sad stories of the needy in the neighbourhood. There were also unexpected lessons learnt on this journey.
Lesson #1: Humour is a power sedative to boredom
The heavy rain delayed the delivery process. While waiting for the rain to subside and people to arrive, my son and his best pal Joseph goofed off by entertaining themselves and the kids around them with their wit and good old boyish games. No iPad or any digital devices were in sight. Hurray! Just plain simple boyish fun.
Lesson #2 – Safety in numbers.
The kids were so excited and enthusiastic that they wanted to go to each door on their own. We (the moms in particular) advised that they are safer working together; that there is safety in numbers.
We also want them to not be afraid to approach strangers or speak to them. And we were glad we had the opportunity to share some safety tips with them. Hopefully they will remember these tips as they go out into the world on their own (fingers crossed).
The delivery gave our kids an opportunity to speak to adults and strangers to boot. It was a practice in oral Mandarin for them as some of the residents could not understand English. It was also an opportunity for them to overcome their “shyness” and learn to speak up. They had to explain who they were, why they were delivering the bags to them, what was in the bag and about the block Christmas Party on the 25th of December. The conversations they had were unscripted and impromptu.