This week I would love for us and our families to look at being kind to our local community, suburb or town and expressing love to people whom may not receive much love or gratitude. I want us to focus on something that has a wider effect than our own family and street. I don’t know about you, but I find it a lot easier being kind to people who are not closely connected. For me, it’s like sharing my faith in Jesus. I have always found it easier to share with people whom I may never see again than with someone I work with every day.
In raising our children to be world changers, we need to teach them how to brainstorm and problem solve. This week is a great week to practice both brainstorming and problem solving. Set aside a time, maybe after an evening meal when you are all together, and raise the idea with them of loving your community. Ask them for some ways. You may want to start with suggesting one way, but try to allow them to come up with the suggestions. Remember in brainstorming, every suggestion goes up on the board, or written down on the piece of paper. Later on, as you read them through, you can cross off suggestions that don’t ‘fit’ with what you are doing or could possible carry out.
Another method that you might like to try if you have older children and teens is to brainstorm the problems that you can identify within your local suburb of town. Then all try and come up with suggestions on something you could do to address a part of one of the problems.
It is really important in this whole process to encourage your children to participate and to come up with some ideas for themselves. This way they will be more likely to own it and want to carry it out (besides it being a great learning experience for them).
A really helpful thing we have found is to take a walk or bike ride around your suburb and be on the look out for new things that you don’t usually see when you are busy or driving. This can help give ideas and spark conversation.
Some of the practical things that our family has put into action for our local area over the last few years have been:
- Gift for the local fire brigade and police department.
- Homeless supplies to the hospital emergency department for when homeless people come in to hospital.
- Toiletry supplies to the hospital emergency department as when people come in with an emergency, they usually have no toiletries on them.
- Activity bags to the local hospital emergency department. We made up over 150 ziplock glad bags with 3 colouring pencils, several pages from kids colouring book, several blank sheets of paper, stickers etc in each bag. If you have ever taken a sick child to emergency, you realise there is a lot of waiting and usually you have grabbed some things in a hurry to bring with you, but apart from waiting, it’s horrible trying to amuse your child. These bags are given out by the nurses to sick children in the waiting area and makes life a lot easier for the child and their parent.
- Money taped to a vending machine with a note saying to the next person to enjoy a freebie.
- We have left sand play equipment at a sandpit with a note saying for the next children to enjoy it.
- Taping bubble blowing equipment to a children’s playground with a note. (Whenever we leave something for children, we like to leave brand new equipment still wrapped in plastic so the parents can see that it hasn’t been tampered with. We usually don’t like leaving food for children as I know I would be extremely careful about receiving food from strangers or lollies left somewhere as they may have been tampered with.)
- Paid for coffee for an older lady.
- We bought a dozen roses and then gave out a rose to 12 different older folk. They absolutely loved it.
- Bought food items and placed in food crate for community centre for disadvantaged people.
- Cleaned out our towel cupboard and donated excess towels to animal shelter.
- Picked up litter.
- Adopted a ‘grannie’ – an older person who doesn’t have any family living nearby. Visit them on a regular basis and share life with them.
- Arranged with an elderly person or a person who is not too mobile to borrow books out from the library for them and to return them. It helps if you have a set day every week or fortnight when you do that.
- Bought a handbag and filled it with toiletries and taken it to a domestic violence shelter for a lady.
- Made up a book box for your local park. You may need to check with your local council first. Have a large waterproof container with an explanation written there and place books in the container. People are able to come and take books home and hopefully leave any books they don’t want, or have finished with, in that container for others to use.
Remember that it is easier to not interact ie it can be easier to start with leaving items that don’t require you to talk to people but then move towards an activity which involves interacting with people.
I would love you to comment below on what you and your family have done and how it worked for you.