Friday, April 8, 2016

Service, Giving, Gratitude

There was SO much good stuff to learn in this unit, but the thing I wanted to teach the children most of all was how to be grateful for and generous with what they have! I'm always wanting to look for things we can do to serve others, but we get so busy and I often don't really know where to start. Sometimes we do service projects with our church, but we haven't found that many things to do as a family yet! So I was happy to have a reason and a reminder to look for some opportunities to serve in our community.

This United Way site is a great place to start looking for current volunteer opportunities. You can search by time period or age or a variety of other limitations, which was good because many of the organizations need volunteers that are older. But there were quite a few youth and family volunteer opportunities as well. We chose a couple that we could all do together, and found a day we could devote entirely to volunteering. I was really excited about doing this, and it turned out great. The children were, of course, not perfect angels and there was the usual arguing and grumbling over this and that, but on the whole they were great and we all had a lot of fun serving together. They all talked very fondly about it when the day was over, and agreed that we'd love to do it again soon, so I think they were able to feel the happiness that comes from service. 

In the morning we made breakfast (it's called "adopting a meal") for the families at the Ronald McDonald house. You have to prepare all the food there, but you get to use their awesomely huge kitchen. We looooved that, and it was something even the little ones could help with! We had had some experience preparing meals for a large group at our Family Reunion last year, so we knew we could do it. :) When I worked with the Young Women group at church, we always talked about doing this as a service project with the girls, but we never got around to it. But it would be a great one. The dinner time slots fill up several months in advance, but breakfasts and lunches are a lot harder for them to fill, I guess. And for breakfast you only have to make a meal for 35-40 people instead of the 65-70 they need served at dinnertime.
The kitchen has pretty much all the tools you'd need, though it took us a long time to find some things among all the cupboards and drawers. But having so much counter space and places for people to work was the best! It really allowed everyone to help without getting (as much) in each others' way. It made me wish this was my own kitchen! Except that then I'd probably just have three huge counters gathering piles of clutter instead of one. :)
LOVED this stove.
And the children were MOST impressed with this industrial dishwasher, which did a whole tray full of dishes in ONE MINUTE. We need one! :)
Anyway, it was so much fun, and I realize that by talking about it here we have our reward, but I'm just sharing the information because it can be so daunting to find chances to serve with little ones, and I thought this might help someone else who is looking for those chances. :)

Later that day, after we took Theodore home for his nap, we went out again to wash toys at The Children's Center. This is a good volunteer opportunity for families because there are always toys to be done, and any age can help do it! We got through about 7 huge bins of toys but there were many, many more, so I think they just rotate through washing them on an ongoing basis. And it was quite fun. We had an assembly line going with bringers and washers and soapers and dryers and put-away-ers, and everyone got VERY wet and had a very good time. We were there for about an hour and a half.

Here are a few more resources related to gratitude and giving:

Have you heard of Kiva microloans? It's a cool concept. You help fund small loans for small home-based and family businesses in third-world countries where traditional loans might be unavailable or out of reach. And it's fun because you read about what the loan will be used for, see pictures of the people applying for loans, and kind of feel like you are involved a little bit with their efforts. You can search by different categories too, like loans for women or loans for people raising pigs (my children were all really drawn to the people needing agricultural loans, for some reason) or whatever you want. We read the profiles and watched some videos and then the children helped me choose a loan to donate $25 to. They loved doing this! When our money is repaid we will choose another loan to donate to.

We also went on a field trip to Welfare Square. It's a great place to learn about some of the things the LDS church does to serve others, and the Humanitarian Center is another. Both of these places have great ideas for service and it's inspiring to see how other families and individuals are finding ways to serve! (And at Welfare Square, you get to taste the bread and honey and chocolate milk they make! :)) With the recent refugee initiative, we'd like to find more things we can do for local refugees, as well.

We read and talked about Elder Dale G. Renlund's talk on how the closer giver and receiver are to each other, the more love can be felt through service. I love this concept so much! So many applications to family life and how we can best love and serve others (and how we can feel gratitude for those who love and serve us!).

Dennis Prager has a good video on what he calls "the missing tile syndrome." He talks about focusing on what we DO have instead of what we DON'T have, which is something I am always trying to emphasize with my children!

This article is fascinating. It relates to the free market, but also gives a good perspective on how grateful we should be for what we have. We are so abundantly rich compared to any other people on earth before!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...