One night at the dinner table after The Captains birthday and right before Christmas, he announced that he wanted to give some toys away. "For kids that don' have any." I told him that sounded like a great idea. He volunteered to give away 5 so I looked at The Kid and said he should give 3 toys away. (One for each year of age.) He promptly yelled that he was only "2 1/2!!" After a few moments of negotiating we all agreed on 4 toys from The Cap't and 2 toys from The Kid. We left it at that for awhile and got through the mounds of holiday gifts and declared it was finally new year. Back into our normal routine I asked the kids to go to the rooms after dinner and pick out the toys they'd like to send to Kids Without Toys. Surprisingly, they said okay! The Cap't quickly dug around and found a couple of crappy fast food toys and a couple of random toys he pulled out of who-knows-where. I had to praise him for trying. It was really the Act of Giving that I wanted to teach. We'd get to the other stuff later. I went to The Kid's room and pulled out two bins of toys from the closet and asked him to pick two toys to give to some other little boys. Sure enough he picked out two toys and promptly dropped them into the sack. I pause here only to wonder what is going on in their little heads. Hopefully they are so smart that they realize they have so many toys, they could open their own toy store. Really though, it's more like, out of sight, out of mind. The Kid actually picked out two good toys. I hope it doesn't come to bite me in the butt later when he's looking for his Fisher Price rocking guitar or his truck that the kids are convinced hollers "comcast to the rescue!"
Once they finished with this task, I thought, "wow! That was sooo easy! I should do this every week!" Instead I challenged them. "Now go pick out 1 stuffed animal to give to babies." Happily and feeling great about their giving, they yelled "okay!" The Capt came out with some random bear. The Kid came out with a cute red and pink turtle with big sweet eyes. The kids gave this to me last Valentine's Day. I was a little sad about this but I started this and was trying to prove a point. Well. The Capt did NOT want to give the animal up. Let me tell you first off that the kids have not looked through these stuffed animals for months! The cats drag them out on occasion but the kids kind of have their 1 or 2 favorites at bed and that's it. Call me Mean Mommy, but I stood my ground. The turtle was in The Kid's room and he made the choice. The Capt burst into tears and wouldn't stop crying over it! I really started to feel bad. I had to come up with a plan. I decided to let him make a swap. He could save the turtle BUT he would have to give up another stuffed animal. You know what? He did it! And the crying stopped. Maybe the Act of Giving should really be called the Art of Giving. Hm. We will see how it goes the day Salvation Army comes to actually take the stuff away.