Sunday, December 8, 2013

Our Service Elves

If you know me, you know I'm not usually one to follow the crowd. If a video is being tossed around Facebook, I try to avoid watching it---just because.

So when Elf on the Shelf became really popular a few years ago, I had no intentions of getting one. Ever.
Then Elf on the Shelf became popular for doing naughty things while the kids slept but he was supposed to be there to make sure the kids were making good choices. It all seemed a bit ridiculous and hypocritical to me. I understand it's all cute and fun but I didn't want to send my kids mixed messages like that.

Then, the amazing world of Facebook introduced me to this post about kindness elves a few weeks ago. My favorite quote from her post: "Present giving is because you love someone, not because they deserve it. Hence why we focus more on the gift of our Savior at Christmas and His free, undeserved love to us instead." I have never felt right about telling my kids to be nice or Santa would be bringing them coal. That idea just never sat right with me. Whether my kids make good choices or bad choices, I love them just the same so why would Christmas be any different?

Jesus Christ has already given us the greatest gift of all---eternal life---and it just doesn't seem right that during a holiday commemorating his birth we would focus on how our children are being naughty or nice. Christ loves us regardless of our actions. We love our children regardless of their actions. And I plan to give my children gifts regardless of their actions.

But lately, there has just been too much whining when we go to the store or buy presents for other people. The other day, Petey flat out threw a temper tantrum on the floor of Walmart because she wanted a candy necklace kit that I had said no to buying. It was actually after that tantrum that we sat down and had a long talk about people less fortunate than us and how we need to have gratitude for everything we've been given. Petey decided it would be a good idea to donate some of her clothes and toys to little girls that don't have the things she has.

So we have implemented a new 'Elf on the Shelf' idea in our home. Each night when the kids go to bed, Pexy and Angel {the original names my children picked for their individual elves} will write us a letter with an idea of something we can do the next day to serve someone else. Some ideas I've had have been baking cookies for neighbors, cleaning our rooms, paying for someone else's food in a drive-thru, donating toys/clothes to a shelter, do a secret service for your sibling, etc. The kids are already so excited to wake up tomorrow and see what their elves have written in a letter for them.

I'm hoping and praying this helps us move past the entitlement phase of Christmas and onto the service phase. I know my children have good hearts but they're still children and it's really hard to buy someone else a present when it's exactly what you've been wanting. I understand their frustration but I hope I can teach them real Christ-like love for others so we can switch our focus to Him during this special season.
And with that, welcome to the family, Pexy and Angel! I hope you can help us remember to love others and serve them so we learn to have gratitude for what we already have.

1 comment:

Tiffany Crespin said...

I absolutely love this idea!