First Experience as Bell Ringers for Salvation Army


Today, of all days, I forgot my phone at home so therefore I have no photographic or videographic evidence of the event today which bums me right the hell out but it went something like this:

I called the S.A. headquarters to get us scheduled for a 2-3 shift at a local grocery store a few days later.  I told the kids the who, when, what, how and most importantly the WHY we were going to do this.  Jackson comes up to me a little after I told him about our upcoming volunteer work and says, with a face full of excitement, “Mom!  I have an idea.  What if we take the iPod, my little speaker (we got free from Pringles) and I do a street dance next to the bucket to attract more money?”

I thought, at first, this was a great idea.  Anyone who knows my son knows he can’t stand still anyway and he absolutely LOVES to dance.  Actually, if music is on he HAS to dance it appears.  Also, his thought process on this was pretty spot on.  He would attract more attention to the bucket and thus, hopefully, more money donated.

Here’s where my reservation came in.  We don’t do this for us or for other people to see us and give us pats on the back.  “Not to us but to God be the glory.”  So….if he’s out dancing and getting attention, that’s not putting the glory on Him.  I struggled with this.  But, ultimately I decided if I was able to feel that he truly understood WHY we were doing this and that this money, 100% of it, was going to a charity for those less fortunate, then maybe it would be ok.

So, we arrive, get our bucket, apron and bells handed to us, and head outside the store.  Alex wore the apron and grabbed a bell.  Smiling at every patron and saying, “Merry Christmas” Or “God bless you” if someone put money in winning over every single person who comes into her light.  She looked like a little angel in her houndstooth long coat, knee boots, and ear wrap with a bow attached.

Jackson, in his white top hat, Nike exercise pants and two layers of long sleeved shirts and gloves, set up the iPod the the playlist he and I created together and the boy did what he does best.  And, it worked!  We had pretty much every person giving money and a couple tried to give the kids money personally.  This was not something I expected to happen.  I didn’t want to hurt the person’s feelings so I held the money until they were out of sight then put it in the bucket.   The kids never batted an eye at this.  Once Jackson did put his top hat upside down in front of him like a street performer (I should add here that “being a street performer” is on Jackson’s bucket list) but when I asked him what he was doing.  He rolled his eyes and said, “It’s all going in the bucket Mom!”

About 5 mins before our shift was up a woman that I had noticed sitting in a truck pretty much the entire time we were there, came up and talked to the kids.  She said, “I just wanted to tell you two you are doing a fantastic job.  You are doing good for people like me who don’t have a lot of things.  I don’t have any money or I’d put some in the bucket for you.  I’m actually hoping the Salvation Army can help me.  You see, my electricity and heat are shut off right now and it’s really cold in my house.  I’m going to see if they can help me.  So thank you for doing this. You are doing a wonderful thing today.  I just wanted you to know that.”  My kids listened, never moved.  No dancing.  Jackson kind of got behind me which told me he was feeling emotions he was uncomfortable with and said, “Ma’am if I had a lot of money I’d just give it to you today.  And we can’t get in the bucket.  It’s locked.”  She smiled at him and said, “That is very sweet and I thank you but you just keep doing what you are doing and you are helping many people just like me.”

My kids really got it today.  Before bed tonight when we were praying I asked Jackson what he learned today, which is a common question from me.

His response,
“That it’s kind of like if you do things to help other people it’s sorta like YOU are the one being helped too….”

Yes, I think they really, truly got it today.

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  • Why I Write this Stuff

    My children called me Bobby when they were toddlers due to not being able to prounounce "Mommy." They are now 7 and 8 years old and I am Mommy. But my real name is Mandy. I just do this so I can keep in touch with the REAL me. Being a Bobby is a dream I thought I may never realize and I do not take it for granted. I homeschool (more specifically unschool) my two children and it's easy to lose yourself in the tasts of the day. I just want to make sure that after 19 or so years have passed,and my kids have moved out, I'm not stuck looking in the mirror and squinting in hopes of seeing Mandy again.