Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Think of your fellow man, lend him a helping hand...

A few years ago, I had a conversation with my children's pediatrician. I don't remember the exact conversation, but I do remember I was begging for advice on one of Becca's latest outbursts. Strong willed and adversarial since birth, I have had my share of parenting headaches with Becca over the years. Anyway, I clearly remember his advice, "Becca has all the characteristics to be a great adult; independent, motivated, strong willed. It's your job to guide her to adulthood." And I still clearly remember my response, "Ask me on any given day, and I'm not sure we are going to survive that long."

Raising kids with the thought that someday they will be adults can be challenging, but I do think it makes you see things differently. Suddenly, it becomes clear why angry outbursts and disrespectful comments need to be addressed right away. Someday it won't be me hearing those things, it will be a boss or a spouse. Along the same lines, I think it is also important to teach kids how to see outside of themselves. If they aren't taught as children, how can we expect them to learn that as adults? I'm sure we can all name people we encounter on a daily basis that never outgrew "the world revolves around me" attitude of youth.

Yesterday, Becca, Harry, Bella and I helped with a family service project for Becca's confirmation class. We volunteered at a Loaves and Fishes site. On the way there, I gave them a brief explanation of what we were going to do, explaining that we would be helping people who didn't have enough money for food. When we got there, we were given our job for the night, "food runners". It was our job to serve the trays of food to the people sitting at tables.

At first Bella was nervous to bring the trays out to the people, because she was afraid she might drop the tray. It probably didn't help that Harry kept telling her he was SURE she would trip and fall with the tray. She started by bringing out the silverware rolls and the bannana (that didn't fit on the tray). After a few minutes, she was a pro and started bringing out the trays. Everyone commented what a hard worker she was. Something I have known for quite awhile!

I was also very proud of Becca. She delivered the trays with a smile and looked all the people in the eyes. When there was work to be done, whether clearing trays or helping clean up in the kitchen, she was happy to help. At the end of the evening, she commented that we should do this every other month with our church. And that is the plan...

Harry also helped, but with a little less vigor than Becca and Bella. Perhaps he was tired from his track and field day at school. Perhaps he didn't think serving trays of food was very exciting. Whatever the reason, I think helping last night (and over the next few months), will eventually make a difference in what kind of adult Harry turns out to be. Understanding that not everyone's greatest worry is what Wii game to get next, is an important lesson at 11 years old.

Well I can only hope (and pray) that they will all turn into "great adults" someday...

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