Thankfulness and Giving


There was a time when I wasn’t so grateful.

I remember when Sam was a baby and I worked second shift, I was blessed to have a babysitter that agreed to keep Sam until I got out of work at 11:30. Despite the fact that she had to be up, dressed and presentable to get her three kids off to school and greet her home daycare kids the next morning at 6am. One day she told me she couldn’t do it anymore. And I acted like such a B. Not only did I not thank her for taking him two nights a week for months, but I acted like it was her DUTY to take my kid on my crazy schedule.

What a jerk, huh?

This is an obvious example but I saw a need for more gratitude in my life. How often do we stop and really think of everything we have to appreciate? Not only to be grateful but to give back. This season of Thanksgiving really gets me thinking about it. God has given us so much; a beautiful healthy family, a comfortable home, steady employment, and the consciousness to see these assets and be good stewards of everything we were given. Or at least try to.

Giving is incorporated in Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps. We’re still deep into the debt repayment phase so right now we give a measly 1-2% of our yearly income either to charity or community outreach. We donate monthly to our local food bank. Every Christmas we pick out some farm animals as a family to donate to third world impoverished nations through Heifer International, and the kid’s school has a giving tree through a local church.

This year specifically, we chose a family of six (SIX!) children 1-12 off the giving tree.  We haven’t decided exactly what to give from Heifer, last year we gave a flock of chickens.

New for this year I also plan on making baked goods with the kids and delivering them to the fire house in town. I contacted the police department also, I just haven’t heard back from them about if they have a policy to accept donated food. Both the big kids love to help me in the kitchen, so this will be such a good way to introduce outward expressions of gratitude now that they are old enough to understand.

Years ago before we were so conscious of where our money went, I wouldn’t have ever though we had “extra money” hanging around for charitable donations. But as Dave Ramsey says, a budget is having a purpose for every dollar. We’ve worked giving into our budget and now view it as almost an investment. Not one we ever plan to see a financial or even tangible return on, but more an investment in our emotional lives and this of our children.