Next week, November 16-21, is the 2009 National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child.
I so enjoy filling these boxes each year. I wasn't sure if we would this year, finances being what they are, but my thoughtful husband encouraged me to go ahead with it. I'm so glad I did - this year has been my favourite yet.
This year, my son was able to be involved in filling our box. This morning while snuggling on my bed after our shower, I pointed out to the boy how lucky he was to have so many nice toys to play with. After he agreed, I told him there was another little boy somewhere who didn't have toys to play with. He agreed that that was very sad, so I suggested we buy some toys, put them in a box, and send them to this little boy.
This definitely appealed to my generous little boy. His generosity and thoughtfulness have long been two of my (many) favourite things about him. He loves to give. If I tell him he can have a snack, he offers one to everyone else before sitting down with his. Kisses are always offered to anyone who gets hurt. He is so appreciative as well, often exclaiming "Grandma bought this for me!" or "oh, that is so NICE!" with such gratitude. Don't get me wrong, he's two and he has his less thoughtful moments, but his overall personality is very much a generous and empathetic one, and I love to see that in him.
All morning he talked about buying toys for a little boy. Finally we made our way to the store so he could pick out what he wanted to send. I made a few additions of my own and we headed home to sort out our gifts and arrange them in the box (which is always smaller than I picture it in the store!).
This year, our box will go to a little boy in the 2-4 category. I usually try to fill my boxes for the older children, as there are annually far more boxes filled for the little ones, but this year we decided to fill for a child our son's age in order that he might relate to the child and also be better able to choose appropriate items to send. If you plan to fill a box and don't have reason to choose a younger child, I encourage you to think of what a box full of school supplies, hygiene items, and gifts would mean to an older child who may never have received a such a blessing before.
Our box is filled and ready to go. This year a little boy will receive a heartfelt gift from our son, including a pad of white paper, a pad of construction paper, crayons, stickers, lined paper, some washcloths, a truck, an elephant, a rubber ball, a hackey sack, and a few small cars. Because our boxes will be shipped to a hot country, we didn't add the usual mitts, hat, etc. I'd also like to pick up a small stuffed animal (we didn't find one today) and we will add a personal note before taking our box to church with us on Sunday.
The boy has been talking all evening about the present he's sending to the little boy. He's impatient for it to be time to go to church so he can give them his box to send away. Ideally, he wants to give it to the little boy himself, but I think we've managed to convince him that the little boy lives too far away.
It's so neat to watch this awareness of others blossom in the boy. While it has long been a part of his personality, it is only growing and developing as he gets older. I hope we can continue to encourage that in him.
And I hope a little boy somewhere out there will be truly blessed by a gift this Christmas.