Wednesday, October 29, 2014

day 29: do good...

One of the best ways I've found to restore order to my life is to do something for someone else.  It takes my eyes off myself and causes me to focus on someone other than me and my family.  Not only are you doing something good, you can use this as an example for your children.  I always remember being told that the most important thing to remember in parenting is; 'it's not what you say it's what you do'.  We can tell our children how to behave all we want, but if we aren't modeling it they aren't buying it.

At this time of year especially, there are so many ways to do good in our daily life.  Food banks and soup kitchens pretty much always need supplies and volunteers.  So they are great ways to give of your time and money.  You can simply search  the internet for ones in your local area.  These are great places to take children to volunteer too.  We go to West Virginia for Thanksgiving and my boys have been helping feed the homeless on Thanksgiving day for the past 5 years. 

We also use this time of year to have our kids clean out their toys.  We go through their playroom and bedroom and have them make 3 piles of toys; give, throw away and keep.  They are getting pretty good at it now, but for years it was a battle to get them to give away toys they no longer played with.  So we started identifying who they wanted to give their toys to and it really helped.  Now they have a pile for Colin (their cousin), Eli and Sam (friends from church) and kids they don't know.  I think childhood is a great time to teach children to give out of their excess.

I also believe that the smallest, simplest act goes a long way.  I worked in both retail and in restaurants during college and I know how stressful and sometimes thankless those jobs can be.  So I'm always super nice to our servers and store clerks.  It doesn't cost you anything to be polite and ask how they are doing and it may just turn their day around.  And (again) you are modeling how to treat others to your children.

Another simple, but often overlooked, way to help others is to hold a door for them.  As the mother of two boys it is important to me to train them on how to be polite and treat women.  And yes I realize that all women can open a door themselves, but I like the old ways of manners and am instilling them in my sons.  This lesson of holding doors is twofold in our family, 1) they are learning to be polite to others and 2) I typically need help getting in and out of doors if I have Grace in her adaptive stroller.  So they have learned from a young age that being part of this family means that they get the doors for Mom and Grace. 

I also hope to never forget the example set by another women one day when I was out shopping with all three kids.  I pushing one of those huge carts with the car in the front, when all of the sudden Luke leans over and pukes on the floor.  I remember just standing there for a second 'thinking could this shopping trip get worse?'.  As I'm trying to comfort Luke, ensure that Grace doesn't fall out of the cart, telling John to stop yelling about the puke, trying to figure out how to clean up the floor and trying not to cry, a woman walks over to me and says 'it's going to be okay'.  She told me to stop cleaning the floor and tend to my children.  She would call for help and have the store mop the floor.  Then she hugged me and told me that these days would pass and I would survive them.

The comfort of that stranger went a long way in my life that day and gave me an example to model now that I shop without kids all the time.  A simple smile or a word of kindness goes a long way to making someone else's day better.

So I encourage you to do good today...


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