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Dec. 6, 2021

Developing Your Child’s Spirit of Giving

Developing Your Child’s Spirit of Giving

In this episode DJ talks with Matt Ballard about helping your child develop the spirit of giving instead of receiving and how we can guide our children in departing from the “getting” mentality by helping them look outward and to serve others by altruistically giving.

In a society where everything is about instant gratification that includes same-day delivery, how do we keep consumerism from eating our children alive? Tune in to hear one parent’s success of circumventing this by helping his children look outward and to serve others.

Don’t miss this episode! DJ speaks with long-time friend and father of two, Matt Ballard, about his methods to help his own children develop the spirit of giving vs. getting. And, how he helped them learn to appreciate the expression, the kindness, the expression of love to another human that comes along with the giving or receiving of a physical gift... no matter the size or monetary value.. 

Are you creating traditions and opportunities to teach your children what Christmas is really about? To help them look at in terms of what they're giving, how they are contributing to the world and the impact they can have on their own neighborhood and schools by what they can contribute to it vs. take from it? Listen to this episode to hear some great tips and advice on getting your children to see and appreciate the bigger picture of the Christmas Holiday and how to get them in the mindset and heart space of giving..

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL UNDERSTAND your children are following your example when it comes to being in the spirit of giving and that if your actions and communications express that it is greater to give than receive; then your children will follow your lead.

Do you have a heartwarming story about your child being in the giving spirit? Please share it with us and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @littleheartsacademy

Connect with the host:

DJ Stutz: https://www.littleheartsacademyusa.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littleheartsacademy/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/littleheartsacademy/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOpphCRklDJiFXdS76U0LSQ

Transcript

DJ Stutz  0:00  
You're listening to Episode 24 of imperfect Heroes, Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. I'm your host, DJ Stutz. And in this episode, I am talking with another one of my imperfect heroes, Matt Ballard. Matt has had such an interesting life and has chosen to live in service. Matt is very well known among the kids at church. He always finds time to be there and helps direct events that are fun, meaningful, and build character and faith. I've heard kids ask, how was he so happy often time, I can assure you, it isn't because life has been particularly easy, but because he has chosen to be that way. In today's episode, we have a great conversation about teaching our children about the spirit of giving rather than the spirit of getting, there's so much to learn. So let's get started.

Before we get going, I want to tell you about our sponsor, Little Hearts Academy USA. You know, coaches are a common part of our society. And we use coaches to help us lose weight, get in shape, to help us become better athletes become better at our jobs, and the list goes on. So why not use a coach to help us with the most important job we will ever do? Raising strong moral and independent kids. Little Hearts Academy USA offers one on one and group coaching to help you create loving and lasting relationships with your children as you strengthen your family in a way that will impact generations. Give me a call at 720-989-6475 and let us discuss the best way to make life better for you and your family. 

Be sure to listen to the end of the episode for a post credit scene if you will, to get in on a special offer for those who linger longer. And if you enjoy today's episode, please leave me a rating. Just so you know, five stars is the appropriate number of stars. And I'd love to hear what you think about today's episode. 

As I was raising my children, I struggled with this with my own kids. And I see other parents struggle as well. We all want Christmas to be a magical time, something that they will look back on and smile have those great precious memories. There are the sounds and the smells, and the traditions, the anticipation of getting something special. I think I was an unusual child in that my mom could tell me right where she heard my presence. And I would absolutely stay away. I loved his surprise and excitement of tearing open the paper and finding out what was inside. And while we had things like the commercials and the catalogs, the commercialism wasn't as in our face as it is today. We still work to make or purchase gifts for our family members, our grandparents, I remember going with our parents as we did Secret Santa, and would have butterflies. As we stealthily place gifts on the doorstep, rang the doorbell and ran like a bear was chasing us. It was also exhilarating. The adrenaline would really get pumping. But now it's harder to get children to look outwardly and think of all that they already have. And realize that there are people everywhere who have less, much less. Listen as my guest, Matt Ballard and I discuss ways to help our children learn to concentrate on the good they can do in the world. Through giving. Matt has so much insight in how to reach kids and help them to feel loved and capable of making a difference in the world. Be sure to listen all the way through. If you've listened to other episodes, you already know that I always ask my guests the same question at the end of our conversation. How would you describe a successful parent? And I'm warning you Matt's answer is just amazing. And don't forget to linger longer for the very end and you will get in on a special deal. There's so much to learn. So let's get started. Well, I am joined tonight with my good friend Matt Ballard. And he is I think the perfect expert in our topic today of teaching children to get into the attitude of giving rather than getting And so I'm going to turn it over to Matt for a second, let him introduce himself.

Matt Ballard  5:04  
Well, thank you, DJ, it's great to be with you tonight. My name is Matt Ballard, as mentioned, and I have been in the Denver, Colorado area for, gosh, a little over 20 years now, my wife, Michelle, and I have a couple of kids 16 year old daughter and a 12 year old son, and we just love it here. I work for a company doing that does engineering and as a system integrator, I work on the business side of that, and in my free time, I enjoy my family and, and serving in my church and just enjoying the outdoors and all that life has to offer. So it's great to be with you.

DJ Stutz  5:42  
Well, thank you. And it's kind of in your role as serving in the church. That is why I wanted to talk with you. Obviously, we've known each other for a while I've been in the Denver area for about 13 years now. And I've known you that whole time. And I just love when I've listened to you and had conversations with you the outlook that you have. And I just kind of when I came up with this idea of this topic, you were the first person that came to my mind. Well, thank

Matt Ballard  6:14  
you. I'm honored to be your guest.

DJ Stutz  6:17  
Well, thanks. So to get started on our topic, then I've noticed, I think it was pretty materialistic in a lot of ways. When I was a kid, you know, the pennies catalog would come or the Sears catalog, and we're circling all our things that we wanted to get. But there was still an emphasis on doing for others and making things for my brothers and my sister, and what were we going to do for our mom and dad and, and that was all part of it. And now I just don't see a lot of children who are thinking about giving, and what how they are contributing, and to show gratitude, even gratitude for the things that they get. I remember as a kid, while there were only six of us until I was 17. The Seventh One came along. But every Christmas morning, we'd all be out in the living room, and my dad would come with his yellow legal pad. And he would write down every present that we got and who it came from. And we were not allowed to use that gift until we'd written the thank you note. And I think that that's kind of a lost art that is occurring today. And so what are some of the things that you do or that you've done through the years to maybe help your kids are helped other kids? Because I know you've worked with the youth a lot. Amazing job? And what are some of the things that you do to maybe help your kids and the kids that you work with? get more into that spirit and maybe consider things differently?

Matt Ballard  8:00  
Oh, that's a great question. I think there's a number of things that you can do and, and a number of things that over the years that I think have not only been a great benefit to me, but but also to my children and others. I'll start with an example from when I was young as you did when I was a young, young boy growing up in Southern California, we had a tradition in our family to go Christmas caroling, to all of our neighbors all up and down our street. And we would take when dad had a good year in his business, we would take a box of See's Candy to give and sing a bunch of Carols on their porch, when things weren't as wonderful. Maybe mom would make some homemade bread and some jam. And we would take that. And that's something that in the spirit of kind of giving back, even in a small way, I just remember the conversations we would have with our neighbors, I would remember getting to know them a little more, I would remember them inviting us into their home. And it was kind of the gift of self right more than more than it was the jam or the See's Candy. And so I have tried with you know, with our family, we would go around the neighbors and in the cul de sac and, and up and down our little streets here in Littleton and, and Carol to some of the neighbors and wish them a Merry Christmas and see the light in their eyes and you know, to a person that's that still is appreciated. And I think you make a great point. You know, we live in this society now where everything is so much about instant gratification and we we can get things same day delivery and all of it is is seems so what can I get now and consumerism can eat us alive if we're not careful. And I think one of the things is been able to to change perspective, to have a spirit of gratitude and for me and my family and My children, I feel like we've been most successful doing that by looking outward, and trying to serve someone else. A great prophet once said that when we serve other people were in a very real way kind of serving God. And whenever we have done that, as a family, we like afterwards to spend a minute and just talk about how we not just what we did, but how we felt. And oftentimes, just in that, you know, the kids have said things like, wow, that felt good, or did you see how happy so and so was, or their kids were when we brought a map, whatever it was, and you come to appreciate that it isn't so much about the physical gift, as it is the expression of kindness, the expression of love to another human,

DJ Stutz  11:02  
I think you brought out such a great point. And I want to really reiterate it, as you talk to your children about how they felt when they were giving that or when they saw the reaction of something. And that's a great conversation to have, even with your youngest kid, even a two or three year old can talk about, you know, it felt good, you know, that might be all you get, or it felt happy. But helping them recognize that inner feeling that happens when you do something thoughtful and kind for someone else. And especially when it was it's unexpected. That's the funnest thing. But I love that you brought that up.

Matt Ballard  11:45  
Yeah, you know, and it is such a wonderful feeling. And we have done things as a family, for example, where, and even with the you mentioned, the youth, we've taken the youth and, and we've gone to a nursing home, or an assisted living center or something and you sing a song, or you share a story, or you just sit down with somebody, and you say, Tell me about your life, right? Yeah, and the person just opens up, and you find that all they really want to do is just have someone to talk to, and it kind of just underscores that it's, gosh, it's so easy. It really is easy. And sometimes it's really just a matter of getting outside of ourselves a little bit, and just turning to someone else. And you know, the beautiful thing and that and I know, my kids have mentioned this, and I have certainly felt this too, is that when you do that, suddenly, your problem seemed less intense. Your challenges, it seemed just a little less severe, even if only temporarily. And maybe that's in some way, the Lord's tender mercy or his grace or, or his way of expressing appreciation to us for reaching out to someone else. But it just feels so good. And you feel like wow, my day just got better. By looking outward instead of looking in.

DJ Stutz  13:14  
Yeah, I agree. I have a sister in law. And she's a professor of nursing. And she was speaking to a group of college students actually, about how hard things can be. And when you just get so frustrated, and life can get hard. And it's very stressful, especially in college times. But the amazing story, and I won't go into the story she told but she's a fitness addict. She's a world two time world champion in CrossFit. And so she actually went to a SEAL training thing that was open to the public, and she's in her 40s. She's older than anybody by many, many years. And she was really struggling with the physical part of it. And what she found that got her through, she found someone else that was struggling as well. And as she helped that person and encourage them that gave her the strength and the emotional well being to continue on and she actually completed the course not very many people will complete it. So I think that is so important that when we're down or we're upset or whatever, to look around and see who else needs help. And that gives you the grace to move on.

Matt Ballard  14:32  
I think you're absolutely right. It really does. And I think with our children, I think with our children DJ, you have to lead by example. So here here's something else that I tried to do and and I've had some great fun with this. My children sometimes I bristled at this a little bit but it's turned out to be a wonderful thing. So when I was a kid, my mother would not allow the holiday season to go by. With without watching Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. And one of her very favorite scenes in that is on Christmas morning, where Ebenezer Scrooge realizes that it all hope is not lost. He opens up the shutters, and a boy is walking by and he tells them to go get the turkey and bring the turkey back. And, and all of these things, he's going to be a changed man and deliver the turkey to Bob Cratchit. Well, it's interesting. Over the years, one of the things that I've loved to do is to go get some turkeys at the holidays, and take them and deliver them to some homes of people that that maybe don't have as much or, or maybe you just might appreciate a kind gesture. Maybe they've got a sickness in the family, or maybe they've gone through a rough patch, or maybe their circumstances have been unfavorable economically, or whatever the case may be. And I've, I've actually said, I really want kids, I'd love you, would you please come. And in the process of doing that, and going out and making those deliveries, my hope has been not only to kind of demonstrate what kindness can mean, but to have them see the response of individuals, and also to feel what that feels like, when you stand on someone's doorstep. And they just break down in tears, that someone would even think of them. Yeah. And then it's not at all about the turkey anymore. It's just about the fact that someone would think of you and and the question that I like to ask is, doesn't it feel good? When someone thinks about you? And how do you think the feeling you have right now is going on in their home and in their heart? And so I think it's really important as a parent, you have to model those things, right? You have to say, Come on, get in the car, we're gonna go do this. Put down your phone, start the video game, whatever it is. And even though there's some grumbling and murmuring, go and do that. And then you come back. And it's, you always feel better. Right? Right. And even if you have to stop it, for ice cream on the way home Sobia. But the point is, right, they get the message, and then they enjoy that they're like, let's do it again. And then you get the question the next year, Hey, are we going to do that? No, and you realize that maybe something is sinking in?

DJ Stutz  17:31  
Yeah, I love that. And one of the things that I've heard in different families, some of the traditions that they have is taking the children out, to find a gift to buy, to either donate to a toy drive, it could be at their school, it could be whatever, or even I heard one family, they go out to earn the money to donate to those Salvation Army bell ringers, but it's not just mom giving them the dollar to put in, but helping them work to earn that either by doing extra chores, or whatever little guy can do. And then taking that. And instead of keeping it we're gonna give that to somebody who needs it more than than we do. And I love some of those traditions, and opportunities that parents take to really teach their children that it's really not about them. Christmas is not about us at all. It's about Christ, and his birth and his gift to the world. And as we look at, instead of what we're giving, how are we a gift to the world, to our neighborhood, to our schools, to our whatever. And if we start early and start teaching them that, so that it's kind of like what they know, they can't remember a time when we didn't do this, that it makes it I think, a little easier for our kids to really get into that spirit.

Matt Ballard  19:06  
100% and I You remind me of that wonderful quote that says, you know, you're the character of a person is not defined on what you get. It's what you give, and the impact and the light you are in the lives of others. And sometimes I think we think it has to be really grandiose, your point is so brilliant. Because I think too often we think, Oh, we have to do something very showy or spectacular, it has to be hundreds of dollars or something to make a difference and it really doesn't. In fact, it almost feels like some of the most meaningful gifts are truly just the gift of time and yeah, all the time and, and sell for just a handwritten card. Sometimes we almost make it more complicated than it really needs to be. To your point. It's sometimes the Simple Gifts in life right? The gift of kindness, the gift of love the gift that the gift Just a warm embrace sometimes can be some of the most meaningful things. I remember last year, we had the opportunity to take some things, just a small basket, really, to a single mom with a five year old son and a newborn daughter. And it was just the most wonderful experience for our kids as this, this little five year old with eyes, his biggest saucers said, you brought this for us. And, and he wanted to give us a toy in return. And it was in some action figure or something, it was a sweetest opportunity. And you could see just to his little childlike face, he just felt so much like he wanted to give back to us, or just the gesture. And that's the real spirit of Christmas, isn't it? Where we feel those things? And you're able to, like you said, you're able to bring that light and Spirit of Christ into someone else's life?

DJ Stutz  20:59  
Absolutely, absolutely. And so we talk about doing things for neighbors or going to visit an elderly person, I have a sweet lady that I adore, and she is going to be 98 next month. And I am blessed to have the opportunity, I try to go and visit her at least twice a month. And I call her regularly to just see how she's doing. So we think about reaching out to maybe people on the outside, but maybe we can spend some time talking about reaching out within our own family. So whether that's siblings, or aunts and uncles or grandmas, and grandpas? What are some ways that we can encourage that within our own family?

Matt Ballard  21:45  
Oh, I think that's a beautiful place to start? Well, I think part of is really looking to connect with family members, and appreciating them. Not just as a member of the family, but as an individual, as a human, and talking about their individual strengths, and things that we love about them. And I think for my wife and I, I think one of the things that's key in that with our children is to highlight the things we love about this cousin, or this uncle and aunt, or these people and to think about knowing them, what do you think would be most meaningful gift to them? Perfect. You know, it's interesting, sometimes we think about giving somebody a gift, and we we give them the gift that we think they want. And and Steve, think about what's the gift that they might appreciate. And so sometimes it's just Rino rewarding the question to say, hey, you know what, here's that, Linda, and what, what would Aunt Linda appreciate? Given what we know about her? What does she like? And what are the things that she likes? Oh, she loves hummingbirds, or she loves these things? And okay, well, great. What's something that we think we might be able to think of? And so I think one of the places that we love to start in those dialogues is to not look at them through our lens, but to try and look at them through life through their perspective and say, Okay, what would they like? Not what we think they would like.

DJ Stutz  23:23  
Right? Right. And it's so funny with little guys, I'll tell you last year, and I have this little boy in my class again this year. But his mom came and she said, I hope you're okay with this. And I'm okay with whatever, like, you know, and we had just been studying the ocean, we had done a unit on the ocean. And he found some lip gloss that had a picture of an octopus on the front. And I have to have this, you know, he wanted me to have this lip gloss because I had an octopus on it and but on the lid was you know, kind of an inappropriate word. And she was like, I'm so sorry, but it's an octopus. And he was so excited. Sometimes with these little kids, they think, Oh, Grandma wants a new matchbox, or any Lou wants an action figure. And actually, those aren't, at least from my perspective with my grandkids, you know, Oh, great. I'll have this here when you want to come over and play. But I think we start out with them just at least thinking of another person. And then as they get older, we can have those conversations. And really not much older, you can start having those conversations with a five year old to look at people from a different point of view. And, you know, if you can start early like that with a five year old, imagine the benefit that's going to happen, not just at the holidays, but in life, in general, at work and in a marriage and raising their own kids to be able to see people as an individual I

Matt Ballard  25:00  
think you're so right. And I think, I think one of the things that for families, at least I know in our extended family, one of the things that's has a truly galvanizing effect are some of the, for lack of a better term traditions. Let me give an example. So one of the things that we love to do and all the family that at least is in the, in the greater Denver area, we all try and get together sometimes on Thanksgiving, or sometimes a day close to Thanksgiving, and have a big family dinner. And one of the things that's that included in that is gratitude rolls, which are nothing more than homemade rolls. But in those homemade rolls is a little piece of paper that's been wadded up and are rolled up and, and hidden carefully in the center of the roll. And, and so when you open your role, there's a little scroll in there, and you open the scroll. And the scroll might say, share something that you really love about someone. So wow, or share something that you have been blessed with this year that you really think is miraculous, or has really resonated with you or share one of the things that you love about someone in the room. And so these are all gratitude roles. And so as you go around, and the Thanksgiving Day conversation is centered around, let's talk about some of these things. And what happens is, not only does it bring a great feeling of love and togetherness and appreciation, but it also helps get to know others as individuals. And then it becomes this tradition, right? Where every year, we got to have gratitude rolls. Yeah, no matter no matter what else is on the table, make sure we got roles and make sure everyone has one. And it doesn't matter what age Right, right. And even the littles can participate in that and share their feeling. And it's one of those things where I think sometimes we can underestimate the power of those traditions in the lives of our children. And as I look at my life today, how many of the things that we did as a family when I was young, how those, those desires, and the feeling, especially of those, I somehow want to replicate? In my own family. And in my own circle? Yeah, I don't know how you feel. But the power of those traditions seems, seems to have a real bonding effect. And it's something that you just almost feel like you want to pass along from generation to generation, because it helps you feel that sense of family.

DJ Stutz  27:46  
Yeah, I absolutely agree. And it's fun to make that be a part of it. I heard of one family and their tradition was on the for the 12 days of Christmas. So at the beginning, they would draw names. It was a secret. So it's kind of like a Secret Santa thing. But it was acts of service, one act of service secretly done each day, for whomever you have. And if you thought you figured out who your person was, you could go and tell mom, and she would say yes, you're right, or no, no, no, that's not it. And then if they guessed who it was, then their name would come out. But the last person to be discovered, got a present. Because they were the most stealth in their acts of service. I love it. Yeah, that was I loved that one. That was that was a really good one. I thought knit Dang, I wish I had a thought of that with my kids growing up. But I've started this experiment. I guess it's been about three or four years now. And instead of asking my students or children I come across, instead of asking them, What do you want for Christmas? I asked them, What do you want to give for Christmas? And it is the most hysterical thing. So some of the kids, they just hear what do you want for Christmas? Because that's what they're used to been asking. So they'll go off on, oh, I want a monster truck or I want this and that, like, wow, that's really great. Who are you going to give that to? And they look at me like I've got three heads, you know, they're totally confused. Why I want that. I'm like, no, no, I want you to tell me a present you're going to get for someone else. And some kids you can see they just don't fathom it. It's just not there. Other kids will come up with it right away and say I'm gonna make this for my grandma or, or something. But it's been a fun experiment to try.

Matt Ballard  29:40  
I love that. I think that's such a great experiment. And I think in a, in a world that is so virtual and digitized, the real human touch becomes so meaningful, and I think all of us need that and want that and I think having Children Learn to think about someone else and what they could give or do or share with someone else, Digi I think that's one of the most beautiful lessons that a person can learn in life. It really is.

DJ Stutz  30:15  
I agree. I agree. So as we're coming along, I wanted to ask you the same question I asked all of my guests. And so I'm wondering how would you describe a successful parent?

Matt Ballard  30:31  
Oh, that is a wonderful question. Two thoughts come to mind. I think a successful parent is one who makes it known to their children, or for whom their children know that they are loved unconditionally. I think if a child knows from mom and dad, from a parent, that that they are loved, no matter what, no matter where they go, or, or what they do, that they are loved. That is probably the chief Hallmark, at least in my opinion, of a successful parent. Now, what does that love look like? Let me add a companion thought, as I have over the years with my own children, as well as with other youth and serving in various capacities in, in my church, and one of the things that that I have seen in very successful parents, is that those parents are emotionally connected to their children, especially through the teenage years. And let me kind of, I'll share with you what kind of what I mean, there. And that is that, so here's Scenario A, the child comes home from school. And the question is, how was your day? And the child responds like 98% of them do? Good, right, one word, good. No matter how good or bad it was, the answer is always good. I think there could be a tendency, right, a parent could say, oh, okay, well, that's good, and then move on to something else, or start eating or continue on with the activities of the evening. One of the things that I personally have made a very conscious effort to do is to let my children know that I don't want to be that parent who's just content to be superficially involved, but that I want to be emotionally invested in how they're feeling that I want them to know, their feelings are real valid, that they matter to me, no matter how irrational they may sound, or even in the moment, and that I care more about than just good at I'm going to keep asking questions. Oh, and just be prepared, that dad's going to keep asking questions until I really know how you really are. Yeah. And I can remember conversations, when my daughter was, had her learner's permit and was getting her hours behind, behind the wheel of a car. And, and we would drive around the neighborhoods for hours. And I would say, Listen, I, I just want you to know that I, I care more than just about how your day was I, I care about you. And my love is stronger than just good, or a good day. And so that has created a foundation to where we can talk about a lot of things. And we can express love easily and, and freely. And we have had some wonderful conversations to be very, very connected. And even with my son who's 12, we've a similar dynamic, where I've said, Look, I just want you to know that, that I am here for you always. And then you have to back that up, right? There's a period where you can't say, I'm here for you, except if I'm tired, and then I'm not. But you have to be willing to plug in and just listen. And honestly DJs some of the very best conversations I've had with my kids have been kneeling or just by the side of their bed, after we've said prayers, and just listen right and just express love and invite them to open up and I think being emotionally available. being emotionally present. being emotionally invested is such a huge piece of demonstrating to a child, that kind of love that pays dividends. It has paid dividends already in my relationship with my children. And as I observe other parents who have done the same, it creates a bedrock for an open committee An occasion and a level of a relationship that is built on, on trust, not on some magical achievement or some bar they have to jump over. But true concern and love for them as an individual and as a human, and as a son or daughter of God.

DJ Stutz  35:22  
Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that you said, that's really sticking in my mind, is how you say, I love you more than just good. And I really want to know, that is treasure that is gold in the bank, when your kids really come to that understanding that you love them through the good times through the bad times, when they're making you proud, and when you're a little embarrassed by them, but you still love them to death. And I want to hear your stories, even though they may be hard to hear.

Matt Ballard  35:56  
Yes, and, and to have some times the courage and the humility to apologize to your child for maybe not handling a situation perfectly. And I have found that sometimes, just letting my children know that you know what, I don't have it all figured out. I'm not perfect. I'm still learning to, and to express my appreciation to them for their patience with me and, and and pray that they'll continue to afford me the same grace as we journey through this thing called life together. And it really creates a bonding thing. And I have already seen it pay dividends in my relationship with my children. It's not always easy. I'm not suggesting that it's just a walk in the park. Yeah, because parenting is real work. And it's the most wonderful experience and wonderful journey, as you know. And it's a great honor and blessing to do. And I think at the end, we all just want to feel like we matter and that we're loved.

DJ Stutz  37:05  
Yeah. Yeah. I've always felt like if you want to change the world, raise a righteous child. And not that I've always succeeded in that. Kids grow up and have their own personalities, and they make their own choices. And you love them through all of that. But really the most important work you will ever do on this earth. As a prophet once said, The most important work will be within the walls of your home. Amen to that? Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. For sure. Well, Matt Ballard, I want to thank you so much for your time, for your expertise for your loving words. And I know I'll see you soon. And I hope that everything is going well for you and your family.

Matt Ballard  37:48  
Thank you, DJ, it's been an honor and a true treat to visit with you tonight. Thank you and same to you.

DJ Stutz  37:54  
Thank you so much. I truly enjoyed my conversation with Matt. He is just so positive. And there are so many things he said that were so insightful and important to incorporate as you build your relationship with your kids all year round. There's building traditions around bringing happiness to others, carols, baking treats, having conversations, getting to know your neighbors a little bit better. And I know that there are neighborhoods who do pay it forward kind of activity where one neighbor will start with, you've been elfed, and they leave cookies or something fun. And the deal is that you pass that on an elf, another neighbor on the street. It's a really fun activity. But that's something that you can think of doing, and help children notice how they felt or how they think maybe the recipients felt once you are done and in the car. Or maybe you've come home. Recognize that it's more about the expression of kindness and love than it is about the gift. My day always gets better by looking outward rather than looking in one of my listeners, Brittany, wrote to me a week or so ago, responding to my episode 20 on decluttering the holidays with Rene FIQ, Brittany's young son, who was just three years old, was going through his toys to donate so another child would have something for Christmas. And he actually wanted to give more than Brittany asked him to give. He wanted to help and children can get into the spirit much younger than you might give them credit for. So lead by example. Bring the kids along. Maybe you'll need a little bribe after ice cream never hurts, even on a snowy day. But once you can get them into it and start talking about how they felt and how they think that their recipients might have felt they'll get the feel. I know that there are 10 cities in the US that have something called giving machines that are available. So, when I read about this, I thought this was totally cool. These are vending machines where you can donate to a wide range of charities. You can even buy goats, and chickens for villages in third world countries, if your video is one of those, it's worth looking up. I think if you just Google giving machines, I think that's what I did. Giving machines, you will find what cities are having those. There's a website, that's just served.org. And if you click in your zip code, it will give you a list of different service opportunities that are available in your community. And it's a great way for families to find things to do if you're not sure of how you want to get involved in giving and serving others, you can also just Google opportunities to serve for families. And it'll come up with a ton of ideas that are available in your area, Google always knows where you are. And it doesn't have to be a big deal. Small acts can be so meaningful, and actually sometimes even more meaningful than the big deals. I love that Matt talked about how a great place to start is within your own family. And I love this idea of those gratitude roles. So those are going to be a new tradition for my family, as well. And I hope that you caught Matt's response to my last question. It was so profound, and I loved the phrase that he used. It was you are worth more than good. What a great thought. So the holidays can be a time of love and wonder. And as Matt Todd, it is through looking outward. That brings the magic of Christmas into our lives. This podcast is a product of Little Hearts Academy USA and you can check out our website at www.littleheartsacademyusa.com and sign up for my free newsletter. You'll get insider information on the podcast and the programs that are available. And if you enjoy the podcast, I really would love for you to post about it on your social media. Tag me at imperfect heroes podcast on Instagram or Little Hearts Academy USA on Facebook. We are continuing to grow. And we now have listeners in 10 countries and 25 states. I'm officially halfway to my goal of having listeners in all 50 states. In my next episode, Episode 25 It will be just me and I'm going to share 10 things that you can do to help avoid or if you can avoid manage those Christmas meltdowns. Christmas is a joyous time but it's also very hard on kids. And we often will see them just lose it completely with everything that's going on. So tune in and see what I'm talking about. Until next time, let's find joy and parenting

My Linger Longers. So here's your big chance to try connecting with a parent coach. Whether you are looking for one on one coaching, or a group setting, just give me a call at 720-989-6475 and let me know you are a linger longer, and you will get your first two sessions free. Yep, I said it free. And if these work for you, you can move forward with a monthly program that will help you build your parenting skills and your relationship with your family. You know you want to so remember that I still teach school. So if you call and I don't pick up, just leave a message and I will get right back to you. So the number is 720-989-6475 or just email me at djstutz@littleheartsacademyusa.com Enjoy your week and I'm gonna go now

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