The Inconvenience of Raising Kids who Help Others

At the beginning of the last school year, I printed off a beautifully coloured weekly timetable for our family which not only included all the after school activities but fitted in all the school classes etc for home school. Then my daughter (nearly 15 at the time) approached me and asked if she could be involved in a learn to sail activity called ‘Sailability’. This is an amazing activity that makes sailing available to people of all abilities by teaching people like my kids to sail who then take out people with disabilities on the sail boats with them. Last year in Victoria alone, Sailability took people with disabilities out altogether a total of 10,000 times.

The concept sounded great. The only issue I had was that it was being held at a lake 50 minutes drive from our home. Silently I said no. Later that evening, in sharing it with hubby that Princess had wanted to do Sailability but it was out of the question due to the time factor of driving nearly 2 hours return and 3-4 hours at the lake, hubby asked me “why not let her have a go?” I was floored. I had only thought about the time factor. How we theoretically ‘needed’ that time for written schoolwork as our week is pretty crammed full.

This question caused me to look at it differently. What would be the great things she would gain from this? Our son, who was 12 at the time, could also be involved. It then led me to ponder how they haven’t had a huge amount of experience dealing with people with all sorts of disabilities. Sailability would mean that they each take 2 clients out each week, one at a time for about 1/2 – 3/4 hour each They would have to be mindful of their needs. They would have to try and initiate a conversation with them. They would learn so much. Sure, it would be a huge ‘inconvenience’ to me and my workload, but what could be the outcome?

I have found in the past that usually when we help others, it can be an inconvenience. I am learning to ask myself the question, “Am I prepared to let my kids expand their horizons at my inconvenience?”

What I love about God, is that when I put myself out for my kids and others, I always get blessed in return. (Not that that comes in to the equation, just a beautiful by product).

The blessings I received even in the first few weeks was that I got to sit in the sun in a peaceful setting for 4 hours. I saw my kids blossom and learn new things and focus on others. There was also only one picnic bench where I sat and this was where all the people with disabilities had their lunch. I had the added bonus of communicating with a whole new bunch of folk and listening to their carers share some really deep heart felt concerns.

When your kids are helping others, the inconvenience may be time, money, resources, energy, less time for something else or you can no longer do another activity. Parents, please take a moment and encourage your kids to help others. Support them in their endeavours. You only have your kids at home for such a short time. Please take every opportunity you can to help them be a world changer in someone else’s life.

What inconvenience do you need to put up with at the moment to help your kids take a step forward in helping others?