This is an activity that is great for Christmas because learning to develop charity is one of the greatest gifts anyone can offer to others and to Jesus Christ, himself. It's important any time of the year! And it applies to everyone of any faith or religion.
Charity is one of those attributes that I've thought long and hard about. It's what I want to become. As I study about it, I find that charity is not just about casseroles and cookies, although that's part of it.
It's really about genuine goodness, purity, and love. Developing charity gives us the tools within ourselves to successfully navigate through life. This is why I sincerely desire that my children develop it while they are young.
We read or memorize scriptures every night as a family, and even though some nights end up in a whole bunch of craziness, I've learned more about who my children really are as we do this. Charity is perhaps the most meaningful and applicable thing we've studied so far, and so I wanted to share it.
Scriptures about charity are in the bible (1 Corinthians 13) and in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 7:45-48).
First, we talked about each attribute that the scriptures define as charity. Here they are:
(Feel free to copy to your computer and print)
I had my kids memorize this. It took a while, but even my 3 year old can say them all :)!
As we talked about what each of these things meant, I found out that my daughter had someone make fun of her that day. We talked about how certain attributes of charity could help her in that situation.
I also found out that my son was overconfident in his running ability. He was sure that he could beat another kid in his class, and found that the other kid actually beat him. We talked about not being "puffed up" or "envious", and how developing that part of charity could help him.
Through our discussion, I realized that having charity really does help every aspect of life... from when we're down in the dumps to when things are totally going our way. It helps us truly to emulate the character of Christ during the best of times and the worst of times.
The thing is though, most of us will have to put a whole lot of effort into becoming truly charitable.
I made this little "game" so that my kids could see how often charity applies to their every day situations. My hope is that when they are in a similar situation that they will remember what to do, and how true charity can help.
Directions: print and cut out each situation. Fold them into a jar, shake it, and take turns choosing a "situation". After reading the situation, look at the attribute list above, and decide which aspect of charity could help in that particular situation. The great part is that in most cases, there are several right answers. Talk about how they would apply that aspect of charity to the particular situation.
While playing this "game" and discussing what to do, you may bring up the fact that reacting with charity is not easy, and the answers they are saying now may not come naturally when they are faced with a real situation. So, what do you do?
In Moroni 7:48, we find the answer... "Pray to the Father with all the energy of heart that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ..."
Make it a family goal to pray to charity, and strive to become TRUE FOLLOWERS of Jesus Christ. True doesn't mean perfect, it means truly striving.
Kids don't usually have money to give from their own funds everyone a gift for Christmas, but becoming charitable is a TRUE GIFT that they give to all those around as they develop these attributes.
P.S. This is something I'm trying to apply to myself. Here are some questions for adults to ask themselves about charity, and to figure out which attribute of charity would help in these situations:
- You're going through a difficult trial
- Someone said something to you a long time ago that really hurt your feelings
- You have a friend that seems to be good at everything
- Your husband or one of your children is making choices that you don't agree with
- You are struggling with money
- Someone cuts you off when you are driving
- You have a million demands on your time
- The trend is to dress a little bit immodest, but very hip
- Your in-laws just bug the heck out of you
- People are always telling your friend how pretty she is and how cute her kids are. You feel overlooked
- You feel invisible or insignificant
- Your kids break something that is very expensive or special to you
- You know there are a whole lot of people suffering in the world
- Someone gossips about you, and you hear about it
- You're with some friends who are "discussing" aka gossiping about someone
- You feel the itch to vent or say something unkind about someone
- You know you have some spectacular talents
- You feel like you have no talent