Saturday, January 17, 2015

Community Service 101

Homeschooling creates opportunities for me and my children that a public education would not (or not as easily).  A couple months ago I decided to pursue (more diligently) opportunities to cultivate compassion in the hearts of my children. Its not mad science, children are not born compassionate creatures.  Compassion must be taught and learned. I desire my children to be compassionate. More is taught through seeing than hearing, and even more so through DOING. 

In November our church presented the opportunity to to deliver food baskets. Brett and I agreed this would be a fun family adventure (nothing more, nothing less) but this is where the idea was born. My children were able to see and do.  They were able to see what "being the hands and feet of Jesus" is. Our Pastor closes Sunday service with "Let's go be the hands and feet of Jesus." Hearing this is not foreign to them.  As part of their school routine I decided to implement a community service project once a month.  My goal was to create opportunity for them to be a blessing to others and learn compassion. I trusted the Lord to provide safe, fun, secure, outreach projects that me and my children could do together. 

December came and went so fast that, well honestly, it just didn't happen. But God was working because it was during that time I was at Standing Stone (a local community center that aims to provide assistance to families and individuals in need of food, clothing, households etc, ran by Ms. Dawn) searching the books, like I do every month, that an opportunity was born.  My kids love going to Standing Stone and they love books.  I asked Ms. Dawn if she would be ok with us coming and donating our time to Standing Stone. She happily agreed and I was so thankful.

Yesterday was our first day. We were going to arrange, sort and organize books. We started here at home. Heart check. I wanted to make sure our hearts were in the right place.  No boasting, no doing it to puff ourselves up or to make us look good, or to get something etc. I sat my children down and I asked them, "We are going to be a blessing, so how should our attitudes be? Why are we going to help Ms. Dawn?" I was blown away by their answers!  Eli said, "to give God glory, and we should be happy."  Zahavah said, "to help Ms. Dawn and love others, be cheerful."  None of it was prompted or talked about before we sat down, not in relation to this project. Sure we talk often about why we help others, but I didn't "get," that they GET IT until we sat and did a heart check before we left. Note to self...Always do heart check, especially my own.

Life and its opportunities are not cookie cutter perfect, not by a long shot. We had a great time helping Ms. Dawn, but I learned a lot too.  I learned that cultivating compassion takes time and patience. Both of my children did great, but attention spans are short. Little Miss. Z just couldn't handle more than an hour, she was DONE. She got tired and her spirit changed. It was ok, really. She is young and needed a break. I'm confident she will grow. I'm confident she will work through being ok with the books toppling over and not staying up as she would like. What a great place to handle such frustrations! And I'm their to guide her, offer a break and grace. God is molding her! Eli was in heaven. He is just like his Momma...loves books, arranging, long as they are not his own! :)  He didn't want to leave, he wanted to stay and come back every week. He was in his soft sweet spot, a place that feels so comfortable and peaceful time flies by too quickly.

I thank God for these opportunities.  I thank God that I am their Momma. I thank God that I am there and can steer them in the right direction and present them with moments of grace and discipline. I love being their Mom, their helper, their encourager.

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