Nurture the joy of giving this holiday season
At Mustard Seed, we believe service is integral to a well-rounded, holistic education. That’s why we incorporate service opportunities into our classes for students to learn to care for others and the world. Often, we’re helping neighbors as close as Hoboken or as far away as Asia, Africa, or the Middle East. Merry Match, however, is a time when we come together as a community to support the school community. To help our students and teachers.
You can use Merry Match as a way to nurture the joy of giving in your family. Here are some ideas:
- Talk about giving. Ask your child if they have any ideas about how they would like to participate in Merry Match. Have a conversation with your child about giving and why it matters. Ask them how they think their contribution has a positive impact on their family, their community, and themselves. You might be surprised at their ideas! Teaching your child to give back when they’re young will build a habit that will serve them well throughout their lives.
- Pray! Giving doesn’t always involve money. That’s why we offer students multiple ways to contribute to Merry Match. All students are welcome to write or draw a prayer to place in their red envelope. Encourage your child to think of a specific prayer to offer about their Mustard Seed community. Tell them that their prayers make a difference. The Advancement team reads all of the prayers and it is one of our favorite parts of the year. The prayers of our students are moving, joyful, and sometimes even funny. They are always a reminder of God’s goodness and why we need to have the eyes of a child to see the kingdom of god.
- Provide opportunities for your children to earn money to contribute. Some children have raked leaves or shoveled snow. Others have washed dishes, set the table, or helped with special jobs at home. Still others have opened up lemonade stands, helped neighbors, or even cleaned up around the neighborhood. The task can be as large or small as you want to make it.
- Get creative! Shanna Pargellis, Lower School Director, suggests placing a bowl of quarters on your table next to a jar. When you share a meal, go around and have everyone say something they’re thankful for. Place a quarter in the jar for each thing that has inspired gratitude. Have your child bring the quarters in as their Merry Match gift.
Why teach your child to give time, talent, or treasure?
We all know that giving helps others and our world. It can bring us together as a family and community. But did you also know that studies show that giving is also good for the physical and mental health of the giver?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies find these health benefits associated with giving:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased self-esteem
- Less depression
- Lower stress levels
- Longer life
- Greater happiness
I often marvel at God’s plan to make giving and serving others something that actually improves our own health.
I hope that this Advent Season is full of joy in your family. And, as we round the bend to Merry Match (Dec. 10, 11, & 12!), I hope that you know that each gift or prayer is important. Everyone has a meaningful gift to offer. I hope that the Merry Match will show students that their gift makes a difference, too, in this community where they are known and loved.