“Back to School” ads are beginning to appear here and there. Friends on Facebook are posting about sales they’re finding. It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of July.

What if we approach this season thinking of others rather than ourselves?

Could those of us who don’t have school-age kids buy things anyway? Sure. We could drop school supplies off at a homeless shelter. This way when kids living there go to school the first day, they’ll have what they’re supposed to have. They’ll be like the other kids. What a gift that will be!

Maybe friends would decide to do the same thing and you could collect for all the children at a shelter. Tremendous!

We could ask staff at our church if there are some families who could use this kind of support. In addition to crayons, pencils, pens, and the like, what if we bought children backpacks? We could collect good used ones, too. We could choose to give a gift card so children could choose their own style.

What if we took a family shopping for new school clothes? Or, we could give people an anonymous gift for this purpose.

You could simply be in line to check out at a store sometime in the next few weeks and surprise the people in front of you or behind you by paying for their school-related purchases. What a lesson in generosity and other-centeredness this would be!

Except in this case, when you’ll probably never see the people again, perhaps you could give to the same people at Christmas.  If you live where a winter coat is necessary, you could buy one for the same children you provided school supplies for. This ongoing support will bless them.

If you buy supplies for your own children and can afford it, how about buying additional supplies for the teacher? Or, you could drop a gift card off at the school office for your child’s teacher. Virtually every teacher in any kind of school spends his or her own money on supplies. They’ll appreciate this practical support.

Here’s another idea. Do you pack shoeboxes for the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas project? If you do, buy crayons, colored pencils, watercolors, and more now while they’re on sale. This way you and your children will be able to fill more shoeboxes to tell more children about the love of God.

Blessed to bless. That’s my story. Is it yours? How about reading this with your children and asking them if they want it to be their story?