i want to give them the best gifts. the cool gifts they remember and brag about for weeks to come.
i also don't have much money and struggle ethically with giving kids too much "stuff" as well as where the "stuff" was made.
so, i give them my time. i give them memories. i take them to a movie. or to a fair trade chocolate factory. or out to hot chocolate at a fair trade coffee shop. not only does this give me time to spend with them - to build a relationship - to show them that they matter enough for me to take an entire afternoon an give it to them - but it also gives me a chance to share with them what it really means to follow Jesus in a broken world.
one of my favorite memories of doing this was with denekew. he's 3. he just turned 3. and he is great at mimicking. and, as a great mimicker, he often says things that are way too adult for him.
so, we're headed out to get hot chocolate together and we drive straight past the starbucks. in his mind, denekew has decided that i am a liar. i said we were getting hot chocolate but we just drove past the hot chocolate store.
"becky, we passed starbucks! starbucks is back there!" he pleaded.
"well, actually dene, we're going to a different coffee shop..." i tried to explain.
"but becky," he insistently interrupted, "i don't want to go to a different coffee shop. i want to go to starbucks!"
"dene, we're going to a better one. one that treats people all over the world better. this one is better dene. you have to trust me." i patiently said.
"but i don't trust you, becky" he whined condemingly and defeatedly.
we went to the fair trade coffee shop. it was better. i was right. i was trust-worthy. and dene learned that starbucks might not be the best place to get our chocolate.
while the hot chocolate did not last at all - he polished it off much faster than i did my soy chai - the memory and the experience will last much longer than a trinket i might have picked up at toys r us.