A friend and I had been talking lately about how we want to get our kids involved in more meaningful, hands-on volunteering activities. Sure, we donate money to causes throughout the year. That is surely important, and we will continue to do so. Yes, we donate to Toys for Tots and other holiday-themed toy and clothing drives. Methinks nice, we’ll keep doing it, but not necessarily meaningful to the kids. We donate other items and volunteer our time throughout the year for various causes, through our affiliations with Boy Scouts, church, school, etc. We’ll still do that as well (a boy’s gotta earn those belt loops somehow!). But my friend and I, well, we wanted more. We want our children to truly understand and live the lesson that it does take a village, and that we’re part of this village. We have a responsibility to do what we can to lift everyone up.
I’ve been meaning to incorporate this desire to do good into my everyday life–you know, those random acts of kindness. I keep intending to perform random acts of kindness, like buy someone’s lunch or feed someone’s meter or save a cat from a tree, or…or…something. But I am honestly too self-absorbed in my chronic tardiness and overflowing To-Do list day to day, minute to minute, to do so. To even remember to do it.
Then I read about Ann Curry’s challenge she threw down on Twitter to do 20 Acts of Kindness, which is now 26 Acts of Kindness to honor those who died in Newtown:
I was all on board when I read this. I was going to email this to my friend: “Look! Let’s get our kids in on this–it will be meaningful to them, and for our own personal healing.” I mean, I think it’s safe to say we’re all still reeling from this, trying to make sense of the loss, of how we feel about the right to bear arms, how we deal with the mentally ill, how we protect our children. This is all so much: the horror, the tragedy, the heavy grief–so much so that I’ve been literally speechless. What can I say? I don’t. I cry and hug my children and don’t yell at them when they’re running late, or fighting with each other, or spilling milk on the carpet. But there had to be more.
So I’m taking Ann’s challenge and upping the ante (because I’m oddly competitive, you know). I’m committing to engaging my children in this quest to performing a random act of kindness every day. One a day. Every. Single. Day. We will change the world one act at a time, every day of our lives. That is meaningful.