My four year old daughter loves soap. That has always been a favorite toy for her. I have to ration it when she takes a bath. What does this have to do with anything? Well, on Christmas Day, I was awestruck by a simple act of generosity. “Santa” left three bars of her favorite soap that my mother had bought at a farmer’s market that we visit a few times each summer. My daughter loves this soap. It comes in these beautiful clear colors and smells so good. She took the three bars and looked at my Mom and gave her one. Then she looked at another four year old girl that was visiting that morning and gave her one. We asked her why she was giving away her beloved soap. “Because I have more than I need,” she replied. We were dumbstruck. Was this coming out of a four year olds mouth?
During the weeks leading up to Christmas I had been rigorously cleaning out closets. We would talk about giving away things that can be used by others when we no longer use them. We also washed the clothes of some of the homeless men that were staying at our church the week before Christmas. My daughter and I talked about helping others, even when it might not be especially convenient. To me, the soap episode was an amazing example of what we do and say affects our children, how easily they understand and get on board with loving others. Now, before you get the wrong impression. My daughter is a very normal four year old girl. She cried at the store today because I would not buy her new shoes a mere three days after Christmas. But it was wonderful to see a glimpse of her looking outside herself and thinking about others.
– Jennifer Luzzatto, CFA, CFP, NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor, 30-Dec-2010