This past week we celebrated my oldest son’s birthday. He turned 8. Prior to his birthday I wasn’t looking forward to the flood of gifts my son would get. Last year there were 10 or so kids at our house, resulting in a ton of gifts. Some of which haven’t even yet been played with, a year later.
My kids have a play room. It’s used mostly for dumping their toys in and closing the door. I’ve cleaned it, organized it so every toy had its place, and got rid of old toys but it always ends up being a huge mess. As my son’s birthday was coming up I dreaded more stuff being added to the playroom. I thought of a solution what would work perfectly. My son had been to a party where the parents requested no presents. I thought that was a good idea. I had also seen, through our local SPCA’s Facebook page, a story about a girl who raised money on her birthday to give to the shelter. That was an even better idea.
I sat my son down and had a talk. I explained that instead of getting gifts from his friends he could ask them to bring donations. I told him he would be helping out the animals who didn’t have homes. He agreed it was a good idea and he wanted to help. I even mentioned he could ask for donations to other charities but he stuck with the SPCA. I was very proud of him.
On the day of his party my son collected from his friends a big bag filled with food, treats and toys to give to the SPCA. Including $85! I couldn’t believe it when I counted it! I was overwhelmed with joy and my son was pretty happy too! This afternoon we drove out to the SPCA to drop off the money, food and treats. I found it to be a great experience to be able to drop all that stuff off. I left knowing that instead money being wasted on superficial things that we can help some animals have a better life.
I hope that this is something that we will be able to continue. I want my boys to know that birthdays don’t have to be all about them, it can be about helping others.