Being the holiday season, we've made a few trips to Goodwill, dropping off old, unused toys, and picking up new (to us) ones!
I'm not really big into huge causes and I can't contribute much to society at this point in my life, but I love Goodwill because it's an easy and local way to show my kids that giving is not only important, it's also fun.
We've been going since they were two. I bring them with me so that they understand that their toys and clothes don't just 'disappear,' they go to other people.
My kids will say, afterward, "Hey, where did our little chairs go?" or "Where did that shirt I loved go?" And I get to remind them that we gave them away. And they'll say, "Oh yeah! They were too small. We gave them to other babies who need them!"
Now, at first, they just knew that when we went to Goodwill, they could pick out a toy.
Cool new racecar? Neat! They didn't know it was supposed to be remote-controlled. In fact, we still have this car. Because they really like it.
Other toys they have picked, we have used for a while, then given back. Almost as if we're borrowing them or renting them. The girls are getting a good sense of use and reuse from our quarterly trips.
And some of these toys are amazing. We plan on keeping these for a while (well, the horse will go back soon as they're getting too big to ride it. But the keyboard is gold. And when they've outgrown it, someone else will be able to use it for years for $4.)
The sting of losing their music table didn't hurt so badly when we got a little horse in return. And while right now the girls are associating giving with getting something physical, soon, they'll associate giving with getting a good feeling. Helping is important. This broadens their world view. They don't just see our living room, their toys. They know that those toys can go to other homes and that sometimes we bring home toys from other people too. It's one big giving tree (with a few dollars, of course.)
And for me, the clothing is amazing. Some of our best stuff is from Goodwill. Yeah, I can get the $3 shirts on sale at KMart, and I do. But there's some real quality and unique clothing I've gotten at Goodwill for the same price. Because I'm just not at a place right now where I can spend $20 on a shirt or $50 on a sweater that they'll outgrow in two months.
That amazing sweater? Goodwill. No way I could afford something like that firsthand.
That shirt with the personality and flair? Goodwill.
And as we grow out of our clothes, we donate them right back.
It's important to teach your kids about charity and giving in ways they can see and understand. Doing this has shown my kids that it's easy to give. It's also shown them that there is no shame in taking when in need. And most importantly, it's shown them that everyone can have excess of something and not enough of another thing and we all need to share together.
This week we'll be packing up some barely used tricycles (the girls grew out of those in a hot second before we could use them enough), gently used comforters for kids' beds, and a plethora of clothing and toys we no longer use or need.
Goodwill. It's about good will.
More from parenting