Saturday, December 13, 2008
It's the most wonderful time of the year, Bells are ringing, Children are screaming...
Last Friday, me and the boys went to ring the bell for the Salvation Army at a local grocery store. It was cold. Damn cold. I tried to explain why we were ringing the bell. I tried to explain the idea of collecting donations, what the donations were for, and our responsibility to do community service. I tried to explain that there are people who need help and people who may be not have a place to live or food to eat. I tried to relate it to our experiences and why we can't just take, but we also must give.
Well, I failed miserably. After 10 minutes the boys wanted to collect donations for themselves because they were cold and they were hungry. To them, it made perfect sense. How many times does mommy say "No, we can't buy that because I don't have any money."
So yesterday we were signed up to ring the bell again. Since the first time didn't go so well and I spent most of my time trying to keep the boys from playing with the automatic doors and running out into the parking lot, I decided to do what any self-respecting mother trying to teach her kids about civic responsibility in the freezing cold would do-- I bribed them.
So I told them if they said "Merry Christmas" to 100 people, they would get a prize. So they both rang the bell, said "Merry Christmas," and every so often remembered to say "Thank You!" when people donated. Of course every minute Mooser asked "We done yet? Getta pwizha?" and Bubba was more interested in trying to direct cart traffic or figuring out how the bell made a ringing sound more than anything else.
I am sure I have corrupted them in some irreversible way, but they made a lot of people smile. And they encouraged a lot of people to donate. And we lasted for the full 30 minutes without incident, which in itself is a Christmas miracle.