News.com ran a story some time ago telling the story of an eight year old in the US who in the second week before Christmas gave away 500 toys, his entire toy collection to charity.
The young lad explained that he already had toys and that other kids don't, moreover he noted that many other children don't have toys and when they have anything for Christmas they can't play and they can't have fun.
This is a wonderful old, old story, where children who have seen or heard of such a need, have given willingly and graciously of their toys in order for others to enjoy Christmas and birthdays or whatever.
Previously, I have written about the story Mr Basil Sellers AM recounts of his granddaughter. Children listen to what is being said, no parent or grandparent ever under estimates what those little ears pick up, and sometimes recount such statements in the most inopportune moments.
Basil Sellers tells the story that some years ago he had his little granddaughter accompany him to church three weeks prior to Christmas and during the service the Minister (Rector), amongst the announcements, mentioned that a box was available at the front for toys for those children less fortunate.
When going home, she asked her grandfather whether she might accompany him again to church next Sunday, and he assured her this would be in order. She said nothing about what she had heard in the service. The following weekend the family learned what she had heard and took to heart.
On the following Saturday she spent the day trolling through her entire room, packaging up every toy, doll, soft toy, whatever, retaining only those most precious, and placing them into large black plastic (garbage) bags. Her immediate family was any-the-wiser what she was up to.
Come Sunday morning, all was arranged to go to church again with grand-dad Basil Sellers but this time, out came plastic bags with these goodies, which with the help of grand-dad, were taken to the car, and then transported to the church, for the box out the front. These toys were for the children without toys for Christmas. Children's hearts are very much in tune with those less fortunate and left alone, will surprise us with their generosity of spirit.
Other similar stories
Another story related to our fourth, our third daughter when at high school (Moruya NSW south coast) and word came home through my wife that pre-loved yet good quality toys were being collected to assist in providing families with limited resources, lovely gifts to give to their children for Christmas.
She heard of this through the family kitchen table chit chat and after dinner, went to her room, and collected every toy, doll and soft toy she had, placed them in boxes and bought them out to us to ensure they got delivered to the right people.
Over my 40 years in Christian ministry many similar stories have been relayed to me and my wife Delma as to how sensitive our children are to the needs of those who have little.
A Mission booklet came to us in the post and over a conversation, I said to Delma that I have a creative streak evidenced by the many flyers produced for my missionary work over all these years, but I was far from impressed with this booklet's front cover. Delma said that she too had thought similarly, it presented to her eyes, something which she didn't really want to read, it was unattractive, it somehow failed the 'punch' test!
Herein lies a great truth, from the evidence of the above stories. These Mission agencies asking for alms and funding might reconsider their target audience, in that a cover attractive to children, drawing their attention, just might get much better results.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html