#GivingTuesday – ‘But I’m Not In The Mood’

Today is #givingtuesday – a day dedicated to charity, sharing and helping others. The timing is intentional. Before we spend a ton of time, energy and cash on our family and friends, we pause to be grateful and show kindness to others. It should help us get in the #christmasspirit.

Are you in the Christmas spirit? Or are you scurrying around the mall or frantically shopping online to get the perfect gifts for our kids, family members and friends? Christmas can be stressful. and you may not be in a joyful mood. Your son might be whining for Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Extreme, and your daughter could be pining for the Fisher-Price Shimmer and Shine Magical Light-Up Genie Palace Set. And you worry, ‘Am I spoiling my kids and only enabling a sense of entitlement, or am I being a generous parent?’images-3

Balance the frenetic buying with a simple and intentional strategy to teach your child compassion. In other words it’s Not all about YOU. Take a few nights out between now and the end of the year and declare them as Soup NightInstead of a more expensive meal (and more calories and carbs) serve a hearty soup. With the money you save, buy groceries to put in a Compassion Basket – (which could actually be a cardboard box decorated by your kids with Christmas wrapping paper.)  Christmas Food Basket

Place the basket in a visible place and fill it with canned foods, candy canes, baking supplies and other festive food items. Say to your kids, “We are going to look for a family in need and surprise them with this basket to help them celebrate Christmas.” Depending on the relationship, you may want to visit as a family when you drop off the basket or simply leave it at their door as a surprise. More ideas in my book 52 Creative Family Time Experiences

A few years ago, I made a Parents Coach house call to a single mom with two children. She called asking for help with some challenging personal issues and with parenting. She had lost her job, her car and was barely making it on food stamps and a part-time job. Without her car she wasn’t able to drive to my office. “I can help you because I make house calls. I’ll come to your house and meet with you in the evening after your work.” When I arrived, I met her kids who were polite, shook my hand and after we chatted, returned to cleaning up the kitchen and finishing their homework at the kitchen table. I didn’t see any Christmas decorations or gifts. She told me later, “I don’t know where I’ll get money for groceries, let alone for Christmas.” I coached her on a few of the issues and made an assignment. We scheduled another house call and I said, “I’m able to come and help you because we are a non-profit dedicated to helping families be healthy, regardless of their financial situation. We have donors who generously give to free up 1/4 of my time and our resources to help families in need.” As I left, I saw a small tear in her eye, as she said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas!” As I drove away, I determined that I was going to have a few Soup Nites at our house and make sure her kids have something to open on Christmas. Now, a few Christmases later, she has a full-time career, her daughter is in college and her son is doing well in high school. This is what we are able to do because of your generosity.  


As you plan your Christmas and your year-end charitable giving, will you please remember Life Skills for American Families with your tax deductible donation so we can continue helping parents and kids like this family? You can give online or you can send a check. Or you may chose to partner with us with your generous monthly donation automatically paid from your bank.

In addition to providing coaching on a sliding scale, we also provide free parent education to Title I schools in underserved communities (Los Angeles, Oxnard, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, etc.). Your donation provides these resources, and in 2018, our project is to produce Kid Solutions –a practical guidebook for parents and grandparents that addresses the FAQs I’ve been asked as a parents coach. Not every parent or grandparent has access to coaching. This book expands our capacity and reach to provide personal coaching and insight to thousands. With your help, we will provide Kid Solutions to parents with children in Title I communities.

Being generous and grateful are excellent qualities to model for our kids and grandchildren, but they are also actions and attitudes that generate a joyful Christmas spirit.




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