My husband and I have always thought it important to instill in our children an apprecition for their many blessings. We've also believed that to raise them to become responsible, compassionate adults, it is their duty to look beyond themselves and see what they can do to help others. Our job lies in teaching them how to do so.
From a very early age Shannon & I brought Madeline to our various acts of service. Sometimes she was too little to do anything more than walk around with us, but she grew up attending community clean-up's with my husband's firm, helping me to bring books to the library for donations, and select clothes and canned goods for various drives. They were simple, often small acts, but the greatness in giving tends to begin in something very minute. Like a seed, the ability to give back is something that needs nurturing, love, and time. Start small, big things happen.
Madeline is now 14, and fully cognisant of how her actions can impact where she lives~and we have lived all over the world. It's pretty amazing to see how your once small child, who could barely lift a hand to assist, now assumes a mantle some adults wouldn't. Amzing and wonderful. She prepares meals to feed the homeless, helps deliver food to the elderly, she even volunteers at our local library on the weekends. She does these things (and others) off and on throughout the year, offering her time when she can.
This weekend we both took part in Big Sunday, the larget community wide service project in the area, and we had a blast! People sometimes groan at the thought of volunteer work, but it really is a case of getting out of it what you put in. Madeline and I were assigned two areas in our city to spray paint signs reminding people not to throw trash into the storm drains. You'd think it would be a tedious task, but we had the best time. We raced against one another, seeing who could make theirs the neatest and get back to the car first. We joked around and teased one another with our paint-splattered gloves. We even enjoyed the actual spraying. In the end, we were tired, but happy. We had laughed, we had some great mother/daughter time, and we had helped do a service for our environment. All in all, a great Sunday morning.
I am so proud of my little girl (who is no longer so little). If we can do as good a job with Jackson as we have with Madeline, I will feel as if I did my job as their parent right. It's all I can hope for. Leading by example helps, but until you get out there with your children, they'll never know all the good things they can do.
And they are capable of wonderous things.