How My Toddler Demonstrated the Art of Giving
With this week completely focused on mothers and mother’s day, I wanted to share a very special lesson I learned from my little girl.
God has blessed me with an absolutely beautiful baby girl, inside and out. As I sit here watching her play, I am overwhelmed with the beauty that such a small body can hold. I am not talking about the beauty of appearance — although she is physically beautiful– I am talking about her spirit. Her spirit is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.
I always knew that my children would teach me lesson after lesson. I knew that when my children grew up I would smile often as I looked at how beautifully God created each one. And I always knew that my children would be one of the greatest blessings of my life.
What I didn’t know is how many valuable lessons I would learn from my toddler.
I did not know that my toddler would give with a much bigger heart than her mommy. How can that be possible? She watches me, follows my every example, and yet at 16 months she has learned to give everything she has while I can barely give more than a card.
This is what I mean by her giving heart.
My sweetheart loves rocks and dandelions. She will be the happiest baby girl in the world if you gift her with either one. In fact, you’ll probably be her new best friend if you do! Yvette and I take a long walk every morning and the first thing she does when she gets out the door is search for the perfect rock to hold on our journey. I wait, and wait, and wait as she slowly meanders through the gravel driveway searching for that perfect rock and once she has found it I can guarantee that rock will stay in her hand until we arrive back home and she is safely on the porch. The second thing she does is trying to find the biggest dandelion in our neighbors yard!
My daughter loves making rock and dandelion stew, rock mud cakes with dandelion sprinkles, rock towers with dandelion flag poles, rock “balls” for catch, and rock trails. She likes them in her shoes. She loves rocks in momma’s shoes! She likes them in her toy box and on her dresser.
She even likes to lick rocks– but we really try to stay far, far away from one.
I know that having a fascination for nature is widely a toddler thing but what I didn’t know is exactly how possessive she would become over her precious rocks– She likes to show her rock collection off to guests but when they get too close she will snatch them up and hide them tightly in her little fingers. She cries every time momma has to pry her little hands open to wash them for dinner, she does not want to let those rocks go.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to let her make some “rock and dandelion stew” in my flower pot on the porch. I sat inside our home listening to the K Love station, watching her closely as she created the perfect mixture of rocks, dirt, dandelions, and water. I watched her as she bent down to pick up what was left of the treasured rock pile on the porch. This rock pile was her collection from all the walks we have taken.
I watched as she studied her three rocks closely, shifting them slowly on her hand.
I watched her little mind think.
I watched as she turned away from her rock stew and began walking to the door. She didn’t throw the last three rocks in the flower pot, she still had them in her hand.
I watched her as she peered at me from the doorway with a huge smile beginning to form.
I watched her little muddy feet scuffle on the floor as she took a couple of steps towards me.
I watched as she reached her arm out, opening her hand to reveal the three precious rocks that she had saved from our walks.
I watched as she set each rock in my hand with a smile on her face and as she turned away she began to dance with the beat of the christian song being played.
I watched as she began playing with her rock stew again. She was still smiling and giggling. There was no signs of remorse or greed on that little face! She was completely satisfied with the gift she had given momma.
Oh, if she only understood the multitude of what she truly gave me… My heart grew to an unimaginable multitude that day.
My sweet little girl had given me the one thing she valued most. She wanted to share with momma her favorite rocks and she did it with a smile on her face. She gave me those rocks to keep and walked away with confidence that is rare even in adults.
She went back to what she was doing with a smile on her face. She knew she had done something great for her mommy and she was extremely happy about it.
How is it that our toddlers can give everything they have and be extremely happy while adults can give little to nothing and groan about it for weeks?
My daughter has nothing except the trust that her mommy is going to take care of her precious gift. When will we learn from this lesson? In order to give with a happy heart we must trust God that he knows exactly how to disperse and take care of the gift we have given.
He knows our hearts, He knows what we gave, He knows exactly who needs that gift.
Why is it so hard for us to give up $50 to someone who absolutely needs it when our children can give away their toys, the shoes off their feet, and all of their money earned that year from chores without hesitation!
Maybe it’s from experiencing the hardships of life. Maybe it’s from the growing responsibilities on our plates as we age.
Or maybe, just maybe it’s because we are not trusting God with our money.
As servants of the Lord, we are called to take care of His children. Here are some examples found in scripture.
- Matthew 25:34-36 where Jesus states that taking care of the needy is to take care of Him.
- Proverbs 41:13 “Whoever opposes a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him.”
- Leviticus 25:35-36 “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.”
- Luke 14:13-14 “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
- Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
I could list many more verses but I think the point is made fairly clearly: give to those in need and you will be blessed.
Here’s the thing, I know that in today’s society it is so hard to tell who is actually in need and who is trying to scam us. God know’s our hearts and our intentions and I believe that doing the act of giving and not worrying about if the person is genuine is going to be more beneficial in the long run, regardless if the person is speaking the truth.
Although giving money is extremely important because it shows our trust in God, there are other ways you can give if you find that money is not the option for you in this season of life.
With the go go go mentality, giving our time is a great way to give to another person. Maybe it’s a mom who just needs out of the house or maybe it’s your elderly neighbor who is struggling with doing their yard work. There are plenty of ways to give our time!
We live in a society where everything says it’s okay to be distracted by materialistic objects. Giving your full attention shows your heart and how invest you are in the person or situation. Honestly, there’s nothing that drives me more crazy than talking to someone and they spend the whole conversation looking at their phone. What drove me to go on a second date with my husband– besides his good looks and charm 😉 — was that he genuinely looked at me with a hunger to know more of me and he did not pull out his phone once.
Much like my toddler, there is still the option to give away objects that is not needed in my home but could be beneficial in someone else’s home.
Here are some examples of the stuff you can give
1) Give away food. If you participate in canning every fall, give away some of your canned goods to your church where they can properly disperse the food to people they know in need. I like giving to the church because I know that whatever I’m giving away is being prayed over and it will be put in the rightful home.
2) Give away clothes that you haven’t worn in two years. This was a big struggle for me but I finally ripped off the band-aide and gave away boxes of my clothes that just had no purpose in my closet. Now I get the joy of seeing my siblings wear and LOVE the clothes that I gave away.
3) Give away toys that your children do not play with anymore. This teaches your children the act of giving and it gives another child who may not have any toys a huge blessing!
My sister had Leukemia when she was three years old –which you can read the whole story here— but I remember a time when my family received a box of toys that a child had sent to us. This child felt so moved and saddened about our story that she went through her toys and picked out the best ones to send to us. The little girl had toys that were individually labeled for each sibling, including me (and I was 16 years old)! After receiving this box, we felt so moved that my mom helped each one of us to picked out toys from our own toy boxes and sent them to other children in need.
If you would like some more ideas of giving, check out my post Finding Joy in Entertaining.
It’s absolutely breathtaking to see the beauty in the heart of a child.
I also believe that the term “giving to the poor” is not limited to food shelters, the homeless, and the low-income families. This may also include those who may have money but need some other form of support or spiritual help. **Although we should also take care of the poor and those who seriously need some help supporting their family**
Giving is the act of reaching out to someone who God has put on your heart to help. Maybe it’s the homeless man on the street or maybe it’s a family down the street. Either way, we are helping and we are spreading the love of God around.
Here’s the main point I’m trying to make: Giving demonstrates God’s love to others through our actions. It make’s someone wonder “how can that person be so happy even though they gave me half of their savings?” “What drove this person to contact me with a truckload of help?” “This person doesn’t even know me and yet they brough me over a meal to help during this stressful situation.” These are questions that are going to make the person receiving the help possibly want to dig deeper in their research of who God is or possibly dig deeper into their relationship with God.
Phew, all this because my baby girl gave me three rocks. Three rocks that have changed my perception of giving! I am going to display those rocks at some point but for now they lay on my kitchen counter as a reminder to give, give, give and to give with a beautiful heart.