It continues to be more than chilly out here in lovely Colorado. This was the view from my work today. Beautiful and cold.
So here's what's been on my mind, loveys: how do you teach your kids compassion? I've had this paper bag filled with food on the counter for about four weeks now. Every Sunday in February was "Give to the Food Pantry" week at our church. Two Sundays I forgot, one Sunday we were gone for our anniversary, the other Sunday we were snowed in. So now I need to remind myself to drive over to the task force in our town and drop off the bag myself.
I like giving to the food pantry. I do. I like bagging up clothes to take to Goodwill. And I think those are great ways to help our community. Here's what I wish: I wish we could do something more personal. It's one thing for our kids to see us drop off groceries to the community task force center. But I wonder if it would make a stronger impact on their eyes and hearts if we took those groceries to a house and handed them over to a family. Or if they helped box up their gently used toys and we took them over to a foster family's house and gave them to the kids.
One year when I was a child, my family took food and gifts to a needy family at Christmas. I have never forgotten that experience. I'm sure my parents gave money to families or donated clothes over the years, but the moment that sticks in my head is the time we carried food to that family that had only one lawn chair in their living room. It made an impact.
My dad was a police officer and so opportunities to help often found him, I guess. He'd get a call about a domestic disturbance and find a family that needed help. Or maybe a call where child services was involved. He came into contact with people in trouble on a daily basis. My dad's a helper, and I saw that side of him. My mother's the same way. She'd pitch in if a friend was struggling to pay her bills that month. That's who my parents are.
I really want my kids to see me that way--as someone who will help. But I also want to give them opportunities to help too.
But how do you get involved like that? Churches and organizations want you to donate money or drop off clothes and food, but they rarely let you "adopt a family." Unless it's Christmas. I've emailed two organizations this week, asking for ways to get involved.
I want to teach my kids compassion in practical ways. But honestly, right now is not the easiest time to spend hours volunteering when I've got these little munchkins who need constant attention. And Lincoln will take off like a lightening bolt if your eyes aren't on him at all times. I know that every season of life is different. For right now, dropping food off at the Food Pantry is a good way for Jeff and I to help out in our community. But as our kids get a little bigger, I'd like to find even more personal ways to help, and to let our kids participate in community outreach. I read a very cool blog the other day where the family had gone together on a missions trip to Haiti. I think the kids were in high school. I love the thought of doing a project like that once my kids are older.
For those families who are like-minded, how do you teach your kids compassion in practical ways? Have you found ways to get involved in your community?
Posted by Brandy Bruce at February 27, 2013
Labels: community outreach, food pantry, helping others, missions, social work, teaching kids compassion