the simple minded suburbanite

A Day of Service
January 19, 2010, 12:19 am
Filed under: authenticity, parenting, suburb | Tags: , ,

Every year I start by thinking, “How can my family give back?”  Each year passes and we do a few projects, mostly around the holidays, but I end with thinking, “We could’ve done more.”

I want my boys to understand how much we are truly graced in our lives, and, given where we live, it is difficult to keep their mind focused on gratitute instead of want.

So, when my oldest, nearly 11yo, wandered into the living room as I folded laundry in front of CNN a few afternoons ago, I found myself nearly leaping for the remote to protect him from the graphic pictures of the Haitian earthquake.  But I stopped, mid-leap.  No, let him see, I thought.

I watched his reaction from over the top of a sheet I folded in front of me.  There was a such a look of compassion.  Such a look of heart-felt saddness.  He began asking me questions.  I began to answer but not before I called my eight-year-old down as well.

We spent the next ten or so minutes talking about the quake and its victims and the impoverished  country they live in.  I explained that many live on less than one dollar a day.

“I can send them money from my bank,” my eight-year-old said referring to the bank all my boys have that has silos for savings, spending, and charity.

Then it hit us.  A fundraiser.  I immediately contacted another family with whom we are friends and they agreed.  We would sell cookies and lemonade and give the money to UNICEF.

Long story short…the boys earned over $300!  The response was amazing.  The boys were amazed!  I was amazed!  And we all felt so great.  Like we really did something.

I, myself, am intoxicated with the look of pride on my boys’ faces every time we gave them the tally. Tonight they will go to be feeling that they really did something to impact our world.  And they did.


3 Comments so far
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I applaud you for raising your children to give back.
I raise my the same way. Check out my blog entry “Volunteering is a Gift You Give yourself” at

Comment by 5kidswdisabilities

What a wonderful way to teach children about the power of getting involved and helping others.

Comment by redtulip

Thanks for your comment. I think there is a natural instinct in little ones to want to help. My job is to gently guide them to set that inclination to action. That is the tough part for all of us really, isn’t it? To put our thoughts into action?

Comment by simpleminded suburbanite

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