It’s important to me that my children have a good life. It is equally as important for my children to understand that a life like ours isn’t necessarily a given and that some children in fact go without on a regular basis. I want to cultivate empathy within my girls so they can grow up to serve others while building a good life for themselves, which I think is the goal of many parents.
I think the way we do that is by giving them opportunities at a young age to serve their community. By doing this we will provide ourselves with the opportunity to have a conversation about the struggles some families endure. By serving our communities in various ways we allow for many teachable moments where we can open up dialogue about how to help others but also how our children can help themselves if they were to be in a similar position one day.
My oldest daughter is 6 years old. When she was three, we started a tradition of going through her gently used toys and donating them right before Christmas as well as before her Birthday. This year, we joined the Girl Scouts where Jordan is a part of a local Daisy Troop. I was excited about this because of the mission behind the Girl Scouts. They infuse community service projects within their group activities as a way to foster the development of solid moral character and empathy for others.
Last Saturday, Jordan and I headed out to the local YMCA where we brought a bag of items that would contribute to a Thanksgiving meal for others. She then sat with a few of her fellow Daisy troop members and created decorative tops for the boxes that she would later fill with the goods that she and others had donated. As you can see, there was plenty of work to be done.
I enjoyed watching Jordan create these beautiful, decorative tops in an effort to brighten up the holiday of a family who is struggling. I was encouraged by her enthusiasm to grab the largest bag of rice in the pile and the biggest cans of Yams so “her” family would have enough to fill their stomachs this Thanksgiving.
My daughter has a genuine and loving spirit. I see great things coming from her in this life and I am encouraged by the person she is growing to be. I am so fortunate to be her Mother. I can’t imagine my life in any other way.
How do you teach your kids to help others? Are you taking part in a community effort to help others this holiday season?