After showers and getting turkey soup in the crock pot, we headed to Kohl's to do some Black Friday shopping. While shopping, we stopped to look at several things. On our way to another part of the store, Elijah commented, "Mom, do you have to stop every ten seconds to look at something and talk about it?" My response was, "Yes, you asked to go Black Friday shopping with me, this is how it works!"
Luckily there was no line once we were done. I'd spent at least 45 minutes in line from about 3-4am. On our way out of the store, Zack commented on the cute stuffed animals at the register. I said in a cutsie little voice, "Should we get you a story book and a matching stuffed animal?" Teasing my 14 year old didn't work, "Well, yeah, this dolphin is SO soft." Then Elijah chimes in, "I want the lion, it's cute!" So much for being a tease. They're being serious.
As we leave the store, I explained to the kids that all the money made from the sales of those story books and matching stuffed animals goes to charity. "What's charity?" Elijah asks. I tend to forget that he doesn't know everything yet. So I explained to him that charity means helping people in need, so the money from selling those probably goes directly to helping children who are in need of food, clothes, and toys. He seemed pleased with that answer and understood.
Minutes later we arrived at Walmart for him to shop in hopes to spend his money. Just as we approached the entrance, a guy was setting up his big bowl in preparation to ring his bell and take donations. Eli asked me what he was doing and I told him this man is collecting money for charity, to help people who need things for Christmas. Elijah took $2 out of his pocket and asked me if he could donate this money. I told him yes and he put the bills into the big bowl. The man seemed a bit surprised to see a child donating money. I about cried as I realized that my nine year old boy was donating his hard earned allowance to help someone he doesn't know. I was very touched and a bit teary eyed. That $2 represented about 10% of what he had in his pocket, also note he'd already paid 10% in tithing donations as well, so the money in his pocket represented nearly two months allowance. That boy never ceases to amaze me.
I was surprised to find there was anything left on the shelves after the chaos I experienced at 10pm in Walmart last night. Elijah found a great deal on a skateboard and a cool basketball and still had enough to pay for both! Zack found a cool t-shirt and a CD that he bought with his money. I know it might be annoying to a cashier to have several transactions for one family, but it's so good for my kids to learn to be responsible with their money, save it, spend it carefully, figure in how much tax will be, and truly appreciate their purchases. Most cashiers don't seem to mind!
After all is said and done, my mind still turns to the moment Elijah pulled out his own money to donate to the Salvation Army. I hope many other people will be as kind in sharing their blessings as my son was today. With Thanksgiving out of the way, it is officially the Christmas season. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Most of us have more than we need. Even if it is a sacrifice to help others, every little bit counts.