Friday, December 22, 2006

What We Did Today

by Naomi (Urban Mummy)

We don't celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Chanukah. However, Chanukah is not a major Jewish holiday. It's a minor festival in the Jewish tradition. Running over 8 days, we light candles (adding one each night), sing songs, and play games. Gifts are generally small, a dreidel or two, perhaps a small toy, and some gelt*. We eat fried foods, mainly latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly donuts).

Today, the fifth day of Chanukah, I taught my son something about giving. I don't know if he understood, and I know it was difficult for him, but it was a lesson that is very important to us.

Today we donated 2 brand new toys to the toy drive at the local fire station.

When we arrived, I knocked on the door and the friendly firefighter invited us in. We gave him the toys (2 toy fire trucks, ironically), and The Happy Boy showed him that one of them made music.

Then the firefighter invited The Happy Boy to come and see the real fire trucks. He was thrilled. He looked at the brand new truck, pointed, and exclaimed "fire twuck!" When the firefighter asked him if he wanted to sit in the truck, he got a bit scared, and said no...but we could see he really wanted to. Eventually he acquiesced (like he was doing US a favour!!) and sat in the truck, and then pretended to drive. Pointed out the buttons ("buttons down there"). Came down, told us that there were "two fire twucks" and asked a few questions (whatsat? Whatsat?).

The hard part, however, was when we left. Walking out, he saw the toys that had been donated, and his two fire trucks were sitting on the top. He wanted to take them home, which, of course, was not possible.

So I picked him up, wiped his tears, told him how proud I was that he shared his toys with other boys and girls who don't have toys, and took him home, to play with one of his own fire trucks.

He is learning to give, and that sometimes it's difficult. But hopefully he will learn that it is all worthwhile.

In the spirit of the season, Happy Holidays everyone!


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*Gelt - Yiddish for Money, generally coins, often chocolate, given to children on Chanukah.

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Urban Mummy is a thirty-something mother of 2 young boys. In her various incarnations she’s a schoolteacher, an artist, an entrepreneur, and a mom.

5 comments:

Mouse said...

It's a hard lesson and takes time. Scooter was not happy to find out that the stuffed animals he bought were not for him, even though he generally doesn't play with them anyway. He about half understood my concept of kids who don't have a lot of toys and how we were giving them presents. I figure each year will get that much easier, so at least we started now.

something blue said...

What an excellent adventure for your son.

My daughter came home from daycare this week with a dreidel. She was so excited!

Happy Chanukah to your family!

crazymumma said...

What a great lesson you are teaching. to have the privilige of being able to give is such a valuable thing. He is small yet, but they learn so quickly.

Sandra said...

Happy Channukah to you and yours!!

We do the toy drive thing each year ... and the older he gets the more he understands ... its pretty wonderful.

SpeakEasy said...

That is a beautiful thing you did.

Teach them young and the world will be a better place for everyone.