Something that I have tried to do as a parent is to teach my kids to keep their eyes open for opportunities to help others. This might be in the form of volunteering or in practicing random acts of kindness. They have volunteered for different causes and organizations throughout their growing up years. They have seen someone who could use a boost and reached out to lend a hand. I would say they have learned a lot about themselves in these opportunities – how lucky they are, how tough life can be for some, how a simple kindness can bring joy to another.
They have also learned as much being on the receiving end. I think I already shared that one day Grant and Parker took themselves out for a nice lunch at PF Changs. Someone took notice of them and paid for their lunch. They learned first hand how amazing it feels to be gifted with a random act of kindness. They wondered aloud who would do such a nice thing and why they would be deserving. In the receiving, they could truly see the gift of the giving.
This week they have also had a chance to see the incredible generosity of others in action. I work at a Title I school. This means that over half of our students (well over half) are on free or reduced lunch. Last year, one of our amazing ESOL teachers spearheaded an effort to start a Bookmobile during the summer. Teachers volunteer their time on Wednesday mornings to bring books out into the community for our students, their families and neighbors. We have already given away over 5000 books this summer. As the summer has gone on, our books have begun to run low. I put out the word on Wednesday afternoon that we were in need of books for our youngest readers and 4 days later I have 301 amazing, beautiful books in my living room sorted and ready to be handed out. The kids have been helping me pick up and sort books and marvel at the number of books and how nice they are. It is so inspiring the see the good in people when we are flooded with images and stories of negativity. It takes a village, and I am so grateful for mine.