Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #9 - A Spontaneous Opportunity to Truly Teach My Children About Generosity

--by Earthymom33, posted Dec 23, 2012

My kids and I were heading into the superstore over the weekend. On the way, we spotted a man wrapped in a blanket and holding a sign that said, "Lost my job. Family to Feed".

At this store, a sight like this is not a normal occurrence. It was obvious the man was embarrassed, but desperate. My 10-year-old noticed him commented on how bad it must be to have to stand outside in the cold wind.

While we were in the store, I asked each of the kids (I have seven :) to pick something they thought our 'friend' outside would appreciate. They picked a couple apples, a package of shrimp cocktail, a sandwich, some cheese and a bottle of juice.

Then my 17-year-old asked, "Can we get him a gift card?"

I thought about it. We were low on cash ourselves, but... well, sometimes giving from our 'need' instead of our 'abundance' is just what we need to do!

We talked about the fact that we might have to do away with some of the things we were going to buy if we bought a gift card. All the kids piped in.

"That's ok!"

"I'll eat oatmeal all this week!"

And on-and-on, each child declaring something they could do away with for the week. 

In their eagerness, they said, "Hurry mom! Let's get out there to give him his stuff before he gets too cold and leaves."

We quickly checked out, with the items he could eat at the moment, and a gift card for the store. At the suggestion of my 16-year-old, we also grabbed a hot cup of coffee, then drove to the end of the parking lot, where our 'friend' was holding his sign.

We handed him the coffee and the bag of food. He lit up and thanked us with watery eyes. When I handed him the gift card and said he could use it for whatever his family might need, he burst into tears, obviously overwhelmed and grateful.

Though I wished we could have done more, I can't help but think about how this experience has been such a wonderful opportunity for our family. The impact of how it feels to help someone has rippled through them all-- they cannot stop talking about it, and for four days now have been 'scouting' for others we can help!

Things would have have played out so differently if I had simply said, "No, we really don't have money to give more," or something to that effect. Stepping out definitely not only helped a brother in need, it also gave my kids the sweet taste of helping others.

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Readers Comments

Jo wrote: Successfully transformed into test questions of college entrance examinations of china in the year 2015
mehru wrote: Good
jumana wrote: A very touching one,now i understood the difference in reading nowels,others gossips etc. Won't help us at all. First tyme reading such stories is really best. ;););) i wish all success to the author. Plzzzz don't stop.
jumana wrote: A very touching one,now i understood the difference in reading nowels,others gossips etc. Won't help us at all. First tyme reading such stories is really best. ;););)
all69anna wrote: What i like best about your story is that your children were willingly volunteering to give up their daily treats and pass it on to this family in need. I hope i can teach my children to be as openhearted as yours.
touched wrote: This story
Touching! Love it<3333333
thaata wrote: A hungry person sharing the only bread he has with another is truly rich. When we share our abundance sometimes there is compassion, sympathy and may be a little ego but true love is the only way to care.
Peacehunter wrote: The 23rd was my birthday. And you gave the best belated present ever. Sharing your sharing story. Thank you xo
Ricky wrote: Please remember that we can always 'think' through and decide why we can't do something, but it is best when we take advantage of the opportunity, and every opportunity after that, to make a difference and go with the moment. You truly epitomized this when you jumped at the chance to share and assist, rather than dropping the ball!
aalok wrote: Fantastic one. Really force to think differently, kudos :-)

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