Monday, January 5, 2009

Being a Giver V

My older sister reminded me recently on the necessity of being a giver. She mentioned the Goodfellows. The Old Newsboys Goodfellow Organization was a group of charitable men and women in the newspaper business that give to children who might not otherwise have a Christmas. Ah, what memories. But the Goodfellows do more than provide gifts for children at Christmastime; they are a powerful example of love through giving.

When I was a kid I remember getting a brown box each year from the Goodfellows along with a few other gifts from my mother and relatives, which always included two or three books and a few toys. We always had a great Christmas with aunts and uncles and caroling at hosptials and senior homes. It wasn't about gifts alone. But we did love opening up those brown boxes that included candy, socks, underwear, and toys. Each of my mother's 12 children were given a box:

Dellanne
Robin
Haywood
Christopher
Peter
Ellington
Jill
Timothy
Robert
Reuben
Bernadette
Judith

You would have never thought that my mother struggled financially, as we lived in a 7-bedroom house with an upper and lower sundeck, dressed well with a few clothes items for school and Sunday morning from the sales rack of Hudson's. But mostly we wore second-hand clothes, though never second-hand shoes, that looked new from the lawn sales in the richest suburban neighborhoods. Many times the kids from these families never even wore the clothes. They were pretty picky.

My mother was very proud, but her pride did not handicap. She smiled graciously, moved easily among others, and walked with a sense of purpose, always. Possessions were important, as she liked good things, but she was never moved by things. At the lawn sales we were always amazed that people lived in such mansions more than the clothes that looked brand new. My mother, however, was never particularly impressed or at least she didn't let on; she was on a mission.

Mothers looked for mine, retaining things expressly for us. We often accompanied her in twos and threes and we were always well-behaved and well-spoken. Once when we all traveled from Salt Lake City to Detroit there was an article written in the local Utah newspaper which included a picture of the mom and her well-behaved "dozen" ranging from 6 months to 14 years of age. Today, we are professionals and entrepreneurs; some have advanced degrees and most travel internationally. We are also all trained in ministry and known for our erudition. But we are all thorougly and profoundly earthy. My mother saw to both of these.

My sister's reminder was sweet indeed. I had forgotten all about the Goodfellows until she mentioned them the other day. She is 12 years my senior and would have remembered the process attained in receiving such gifts. What I remembered most were the volunteers who came to the door with boxes which had each of our names on them. This morning I looked up the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Organization and became a monthly donor.

Be a giver throughout the year. Do not wait for the joy of Christmas only. A great many children are in need of you.

2 comments:

Regina Daniels said...

Your mother was such a great person. She seems to have instilled the best of both worlds into her children...something I strive to do on a daily basis.

Giving is the one gift you never forget.

judith ellis said...

"Giving is the one gift you never forget."

What a beautiful statement, Regina. Thank you for that.

My mother was indeed wonderful. She was not perfect, as none of us are. But she was an incredile woman of love, faith and purpose. These were evident when you met her.

As powerful and strong as my mother was she never ever raised her voice in anger towards anyone -not once. In fact, she never raised her voice to make a point. She was quite spirited, so she must have cultivated this trait.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of me. I must better cultivate the traits that she had. Sometimes I do not suffer meanness and injustice kindly.

My mother cultivated many things for our sake. She was always aware of us. Though she loved us dearly, she separated herself too. This taught us to honor her life and space, each others, and those of others.

I know that you are doing a great job daily in raising your son. You are brave and thoughtful. I wish the very best for you today and always.

All the very best this year, Regina, raising your son, beginning Foundation 4, and completing your degree. My mother did what was seemingly impossible while raising 12 children alone.

Keep the faith! You can do it!