They started early this morning. With ThingFour encouraging everyone to be polite and ThingTwo mediating to make sure everything was fair, the five younger children turned our living room floor into The Halloween Candy Exchange.
With the skill of experienced Wall Street brokers, they traded a fun size Milky Way for two Jolly Ranchers, a trio of Gobstoppers for a pack of Smarties, two Dum Dums for a Tootsie Pop. ThingThree quickly became the Tootsie Roll mogul, wheeling and dealing until he owned every Tootsie Roll, large and small. ThingTwo refused to accept any offer for her rare white Nerds, no matter how sweet the deal.
After they had been trading a while, I quietly said, “If you have any extra hard candy you’d like to donate to our Operation Christmas Child box, we can start a pile here on the table.”
Right away, a couple children brought over some suckers. ThingTwo persistently
nagged encouraged a brother to donate a piece of candy. She reminded another brother that I wouldn’t allow him to eat the suckers with red dye anyway, so he might as well put those in the donate pile.
They were proud of themselves for donating a piece or two of candy. They congratulated themselves that some child in a third-world country might eat her very first piece of candy ever, all because of their generosity. And then they went back to their piles of candy and finalized any remaining deals and trades.
A few minutes later, ThingTwo glanced at the table, then she looked back at their large piles of candy scattered across the living room floor. “Is that all we’re donating?” Her voice rose in disbelief. “That’s not a lot compared to what we have left!”
I only smiled and said, “Yes, this is our donate pile.”
Without any hesitation, ThingTwo grabbed a handful of candy from her stash and dumped it into the donate pile. “It felt like I was giving a lot until I looked at all I had left,” she explained.
I could learn from her example.