A Toddler’s Lesson on Generosity

“I don’t want to be generous,” he said as we stood in a Target aisle full of toys.

“I know, love. Being generous is hard…”

“It’s TOO hard mommy,” he interjected.

“… but it will make other people SO happy.”

“It will make other people so happy?” he said with puzzled big brown eyes, head tilted to the side.

I couldn’t help laughing softly, but I continued talking him through his difficult act of generosity, buying toys for children in need and NOT buying any toys for himself.

I reminded him he has SO many toys at home but that some children don’t have many or any at all. His eyes got so big at the thought of that, and he agreed that we should be generous, even though it is SO hard.

He even helped me pick out two toys. I started him off easy. I took him down the Barbie aisle, knowing he wouldn’t be tempted to beg for a toy. (Boys can totally play with Barbies, but at 2 years old, he is much more into his plush animals when he wants a doll-like toy with which to pretend.)  I showed him two dolls, and he chose the black figure skater in a hot pink costume over the scientist in a white coat, like Daddy wears to work. I think it was probably the hot pink, like Poppy, that sold it. (Seriously, we have a Trolls obsession and think you should too. Read 10 Reasons Why.)

After the Barbie aisle, we walked down the aisle with all the Melissa & Doug stuff, which he has a TON of, and which was on sale. (It’s ok to be thrifty when being generous, right?) This was Aman’s chance to truly be selfless and generous. He chose a construction truck puzzle and needed constant reminders that this would be for another child, a child with less toys, not for him, because he already has so many trucks and puzzles too.

“Ok mommy. I want a jeep.”

I have no idea what jeep he saw that he wanted, because after we chose the puzzle, I went on with our grocery list and tried occupying him with tasks like singing to the babies or helping me mark off my list. I had to stick to my guns with this generosity lesson.

I heard about that jeep for the rest of the shopping trip, but by the Grace of God (and extra doses of patience, soothing tones, and redirection), there was no meltdown. Hallelujah!

Tomorrow, we will take the toys he picked to our favorite spot in town, the Miami Children’s Museum, where they are collecting toys for Operation Puerto Rico Holiday Gift-Lift. They also have a GoFundMe page, if you can give a monetary donation.

And, of course, we will keep talking about being generous, and looking beyond this Gift-Lift to show generosity to each other and to others on a regular basis. We will continue reading about generosity and sharing. See my book recommendations for teaching generosity and gratitude. Sharing with his (now SUPER mobile) twin babies is a BIG deal right now. We need a lot of help.

Good luck to all of you, and I hope you  build some sweet memories, as your little ones learn this tough, but important, lesson on generosity.

Side note: This is our second advent calendar activity. Check the Maestra Momma Facebook and Instagram pages for more details and daily updates. And be sure to like and follow!

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