Image by ProfDEH

It’s never enough. First there are birthdays then Christmas and before the poor old pine tree has breathed its last, the kids are looking for more ways to score new toys!

I was shopping with my four year old today and she was telling me what she wanted (a crappy giraffe with oversized legs) for her bulging toy collection. My kids just love cuddly toys: bears, dogs, pigs, cows, anything with stuffing and a sad face. We don’t live in a huge house so space is precious and these toys seemed to have taken over the place. The desire for more and more is exhausting, not only for us parents who have to answer the same questions all the time but for the hearts of our kids. Wanting is wearing.

How much is enough? It’s a good question to ask ourselves as well. How much space, furniture, clothing, gadgets, dvds, beauty products, facebook friends, books, money is enough? When will we be happy? Does the wanting make us continually unhappy? I feel incredibly responsible when it comes to modelling healthy behaviour to my kids. Which leaves me sneaking squares of chocolate when they’re not looking because I don’t want them to suffer the same affliction.

My challenge this year is to model generosity to my kids. Not so they think I’m awesome with my halo hanging sweetly over my head but to teach an outward looking attitude. For some people it comes completely naturally. One friend of mine had a policy that if someone complimented her on, for example, her earrings, she would take them off and give them to that person. Not sure what would have happened if they liked her dress!?! That level of generosity is like breathing for these people, which is inspirational to the rest of us who may hold one hand open and the other white knuckled closed.

So, the challenge this year is to focus on giving and not so much getting. Because in the end, when the get is received, it is gone, whereas giving feels eternal. It changes lives.

This means buying the raffle ticket from the Surf Life Saving Society table at the mall or giving some dollars to the Salvation Army man who is always there in my town. It is about giving time and babysitting and making the odd meal.

It’s not hard to be generous, it’s just difficult to decide to give. It takes motivation and awareness which doesn’t always happen naturally. All you can do is give it a red hot go. So this year I will simply try to show my kids the benefits of a giving life rather than a wanting life. This is my 2011 challenge, what is yours?