Friday, December 19, 2014

Advent Calendar That Could Change Humanity - by Rachelle

Human nature comes out in its most natural, rawest form when we are children. One of the first words we learn to say is “mine!” We want what we want, when we want it. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. We throw tantrums when things don’t go our way. It’s the combination of time, maturity, our environment, and social standards that mold us into the caring people most of us become. 

This is how it all begins. 

But, alas, this is only the beginning. We turn from screaming, demanding babies into young children who begin to understand the world around us. We learn what is socially acceptable (ie NOT shouting hysterically or kicking and screaming in public) and what is not. We learn to internalize selfish thoughts and realize that the sun does not, indeed, revolve around us. We begin to truly care about the feelings of others, and we become loving, giving people. 

A couple of weeks ago at a Christmas book exchange with other kindergarteners in Andrew's class, I got to talking with my friend, Erin, about a holiday tradition she started. Before I explain what it is, let me tell you this. Erin is a preschool teacher. She has the ability to kindly shush a group of 15 children with a sweet, quiet song that immediately gets their attention. She has them sitting criss-cross-applesauce while the rest of us are still struggling to gather ideas that might make these children turn their attention to us. 

Erin does this effortlessly. She is a child whisperer.She is full of ideas. She is crafty and thoughtful and well, everything you’d want in a preschool teacher. And she uses these methods on her own two young children at home. What was the holiday tradition she shared with me? Advent boxes that assign her children specific tasks to do EVERY DAY that will positively impact the lives of others. 

What???? I said. That is the best idea EVER. I am going to blog about that. So here I am.   

Most advent calendars serve a couple of purposes. One, to provide a simple way for children to count down the days before Christmas (ie the days until they get a massive amount of presents). Two, to sometimes offer little gifts inside each window (think small pieces of candy). Three, to contain scripture verses or biblical poems. But Erin’s? Well, just take a look.  

Box number 17 says "Surprise someone with a candy cane today." Number 2 says "Donate a toy to someone in need." Number 1 says "Draw a picture for your teacher." Number 20 says "Make cookies for your neighbors."

 If you ask me, these little boxes have the power to expedite the invaluable lessons of giving and caring for others. I bet Erin's kids felt good about the smiles they saw on other children's faces when they handed out candy canes, or imagined their teachers' delight while drawing pictures for them.

'Tis the season for giving, right? I was completely inspired by this unique idea, and I believe I will be implementing it next year. Twenty-five boxes. That's a lot of potential learned lessons. That's a lot of happy people. That's a lot of giving.

1 comment: said...

Thank you so much for sharing this idea and spreading the light and love!