I have several blog posts I have been wanting to write. Yet, as usual, time and life eludes me. However, I have decided that if I can share even one little bit of the thoughts racing through my mind, that is better than nothing.
One of the things that has been heavy on my heart is the idea of sacrifice.
I thought alot about sacrifice on Veteran's Day as we had a special assembly to honor Veterans at our school. During the assembly, seating was a bit limited. Normally teachers take their chairs to sit in on the "sidelines". However, there just wasn't room this time. So I did the most practical thing...sat on the floor. Twenty years ago that wouldn't have been a big deal. However, as I get older (and older and older), that was a bit of a challenge. An hour on the floor, criss cross applesauce. Aches and pains and groans. While part of me (mainly my legs and back) wanted to scream out, "No fair...I want my chair!", the more rational side of me thought, "This little bit of sacrifice doesn't compare to what these Veterans have done for me."
Another area I have been thinking about sacrifice is with our children. I am sure they think they sacrifice already since they have parents who won't buy them tv's for their rooms, i-phones for them, or the latest and greatest in video games. But that is my concern. I want them to know sacrifice goes beyond that. Even more, I want them to know that sometimes, we sacrifice our own comforts for the good of others.
We (as a family) do show "acts of giving" throughout the year, whether it is through our local Christian radio station's fundraising drive, giving to students through our "angel tree" at school, or collecting books we have outgrown for book drives for children's shelters.
Yet I am not sure our children truly understand that act of giving. Often, the check is written from our accounts or the books are passed down when they are outgrown and no longer needed. And I think in some ways, they are missing out on the true joy of giving.
Which leads to the topic of sacrifice.
This holiday season as Christmas lists dance in through our children's minds, I want them to look beyond themselves.
I want them to see others.
To truly think about the needs of others.
And to give up, even a little, so others can have what we already have.
This weekend, it came to me.
We love to eat out as a family. Sometimes it is stopping by our favorite pizza place. Other times, it is a sit down meal at a favorite restaurant. (I don't want to give the impression we eat out all the time...we really don't. But it is a favorite of ALL of ours) Often on Sunday, the kids' first question once we leave church is "Where are we eating today?" (The funny thing is that since bringing Marley home, we rarely eat out on Sunday afternoons; I don't like leaving her alone that long) One of our children even starts a chant, "We want ____", inserting his restaurant of choice in the blank.
Yesterday Mark informed me that after church, we would be eating out. I guess the thought of sandwiches (again) did not appeal to him. So I told him I thought that was fine but I also thought that needed to be it for a while. Like a month.
After church, we headed over to a favorite restaurant, ordered our food, then shared our plan with our children.
For the next month, we will not be eating out. At all.
The money we would normally spend will instead be given to a charity, something we discuss as a family.
I know, I know.
It is not a big sacrifice.
It is not the type of sacrifice missionaries all over the world make every day of their lives.
And it in NO way demonstrates the true need, the true hunger, so much of the world feels.
But it is a start.
I don't expect my children to truly appreciate the experience. It may be a few weeks before they really start to feel the "sacrifice". And I doubt any of them will start giving all they have to the poor out of this.
But I hope in some way, they will feel it.
(I know I will. A month without pizza??? Sushi? Crab legs?)
I hope they will feel what happens when we go without.
And more importantly that they will feel the joy we have when we give in return.