Thursday, March 17, 2011
Doing your part.
Whatever you like to call it.
I was raised this way. As a kid, my mom donated a lot of her time to my school and our church. And in all the things that I could be a part of, I was. My brother and I would go with her every week when she did Meals on Wheels deliveries. We'd help with various tasks at the church. We'd go through the pantry and decide which foods we wanted to donate to various food drives. We'd all go as a family to help with Salvation Army events.
For us, it was part of life. Not something that someone else will make sure gets done.
While I didn't mind it as a kid, I certainly didn't know to appreciate it either. But now I do. I'm glad that I was taught (by example!) that helping out is a great thing to do. I'm so thankful my mama taught me this.
And now that I have my own family, it's something I've chosen to do with them as well. Kaylee's only 7 and Isabelle only entered the picture 6 months ago, but they're a big part too. A lot of charities and organizations won't allow kids, which is disappointing, but some will.
Some of Kaylee's favorites (and maybe ideas that you could do with your kids):
For several years, as a family, we go to serve Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day at the Salvation Army's Thanksgiving meal. The people who come are so grateful for your willingness to serve, and appreciate that you give your time.
Kaylee may not realize the "giving" that she's doing, but she loves it. She feels like she gets to play waitress and looks forward to that day every year.
This last Thanksgiving, even Isabelle was along for the ride, as I wore her in the baby carrier all afternoon. She was a big hit!
We also volunteer at the local children's home orphanage and enjoy that as well.
Each Christmas, we select a kid from the Salvation Army tree and purchase gifts for them. Kaylee will spend 10 or more minutes looking through all the kids to choose from, and will find one she wants and then she can't wait to go shop for them. It's fun to watch her pick things for this other child, and not be asking for toys for herself.
We work at Kaylee's school's book fair every year. Kaylee thinks it's great fun and loves helping with it.
As a mother, I love seeing my daughter be willing to help others. It's so funny to me. At home, she'll always complain (good-naturedly, as most kids do) when I ask her to do random chores around the house. But when we take her various charitable things, she LOVES being given jobs. She is the most willing and happy helper you could hope for. And it makes me proud :)
Regardless of your political affiliations or religious beliefs, I think everyone should try to be involved somehow.
Donate money, if your schedule's too busy.
Donate something you make if that's your skill.
Donate your time if money is tight.
Get your kids involved. Make it a family event.
I recently became involved in a way that was brand new to me. I offered to provide baked goods for an online bake sale. The bake sale was yesterday, and I'm feeling pretty proud that my little ole cake truffles sold for $38. (You can see them here)
Anyway, I hope this doesn't come out sounding preachy or holier-than-thou, because that's certainly not my intention.
I've just found that being involved in service projects or charitable events is just as beneficial for my family as it is for those we are helping. And that's a win for everyone :)