Will you accept the challenge?

Josh cookingI love looking at how our family can impact people around us. There are so many different things we can do, depending on finance, time, children’s ages and availability. We already bake biscuits for people and cook meals for new neighbours and mums with new babies. We put out and bring in the garbage bin for an elderly neighbour. Matey bakes biscuits for the postman and writes a card for her to thank her. We do different “little” things.

This year, I have decided to “ramp” it up a little. I am challenging our family, and subsequently your family, to a year of weekly ‘acts of kindness”. Thus, each week for the rest of the year (ie only 47 weeks left in 2015), I am challenging our families to go out of their way and help someone for nothing in return. Will you and your family accept the challenge?

This week, I am planning to sit down with hubby, Princess (11) and Matey (9) and we will brainstorm various ways we could help others. Big ways and small ways. Remember in brainstorming there is no right and wrong. We will write every idea that we come up with on a piece of paper. Then I will get Princess to type up all the ideas. Each week, we will pick an idea off the list and look at when and how we can implement it. Matey has a gift of serving and loves doing this. He is always coming up with ideas on how to help other people.

You may have younger children than me. Don’t let that stop you from participating. Children of any age can participate. The key is to find something that interests your children and is suitable for their age. Young children love helping to bake biscuits. They also love drawing pictures and can easily give one of their pictures, perhaps with a thank you comment written on it by you, to the postman or the garbage truck driver. Little kids love stacking things and can help in a food handout centre by helping to stack cans. Elderly people’s homes love having little children and babies visit. Be creative in how you involve your children alongside you.

When Princess was 8 years old, she instigated her and I going every week for 18 months to help out at a meal for people with low income and mental illness. She played a role in chatting with the children who came plus serving up and occasionally cooking. We put some safe guards in place such as no going outside the room or to the toilet without me so that she was safe at all times. A lot depends on your attitude and what you are hoping to achieve. I have realised that it is more important to include my children and help them serve than to do an absolutely perfect job on my own.

This coming weekend we are cooking on a camp for 50-75 University students. Princess (11) is in charge of the morning and afternoon teas and supper and cooking the muffins, slices and biscuits. Matey (9) will also help with the snack cooking during the week in preparation for the weekend and be responsible for the breakfasts. Valentine’s Day is on Saturday so the kids will also help with buying chocolate hearts and writing a message about God’s love for each person that we will attach to the chocolate hearts.

Some ideas our family already are looking at implementing this year include:

  1. Making busy bags for children in the Emergency room at the local hospital. We will go shopping together and buy colouring books, crayons and Ziploc bags. We will cut down the spine of the books, staple 4 pages to a Ziploc bag and insert 4 different coloured crayons in the Ziploc bag. Then we will go to the local Emergency Department and deliver these bags to the nurses. This is a great resource for parents and children waiting in the Emergency Department to help keep sick children occupied.
  2. Buying a bag of popcorn and taping to the DVD rental machine at the local shops with a message saying that the next person who rents a DVD can take this home and enjoy whilst watching the movie.
  3. Weed the garden of an elderly neighbour.
  4. Pay for a meal/coffee for the next person in line at a café.
  5. Go through our towel cupboard and choose a number of towels to take to the animal shelter or give them to a friend’s sister who cares for hurt wildlife.
  6. Make up a package for homeless people for when we visit the city and see homeless people begging. We will buy a pair of socks and store all the goodies in one sock with the other sock wrapped up inside. Also inside we will put soap, bandaids, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash (alcohol free), travel size deodorant and shampoo, sunscreen, packet sanitizer wipes, and a note from the children. If they don’t all fit inside a sock, then in a bag that can be folded up small.
  7. Make up a couple of bags for children in a local women’s shelter – stuffed animal, blanket, book, toothbrush and toothpaste.
  8. Buy some baby supplies for “The Babes Project” – a not for profit local organisation that helps care and support vulnerable pregnant girls and women.
  9. Knitting some beanies for Aboriginal children in Western Australia to wear during cold nights in winter.
  10. Painting an elderly lady’s fingernails and toenails.
  11. Regularly hide ziploc bags filled with crayons and paper (with an explanation on the outside) inside the slide and on the swings at the local playground for little children to find. We plan to buy various items from the $2 shop to vary the items hidden eg bag of plastic farm animals, bubbles, stickers etc.
  12. Tape $1 coins with an explanation note attached to the local BBQ’s that are coin operated.
  13. Volunteer at the local breakfast for disadvantaged and homeless folk.
  14. Regularly visit the elderly folk in our street who are lonely.
  15. We regularly go through our toys, books and clothes and give them to a friend who sends containers full of these things to the Pacific Islands to help flood victims, set up kindergartens etc.
  16. I would love to organise an “art in the park” project where we provide supplies for paint and art canvases for disadvantaged folk to come to a local park and have an opportunity to create an art piece plus then get fed dinner. At the moment, we don’t have the resources to enable this to happen but we are going to look into it further.

A website I love looking up on occasions like this is www.penniesoftime.com  I also google random acts of kindness on pinterest for ideas as well. If you know of any fabulous websites in relation to families and children serving others, acts of kindness etc, then can you please let me know. I would love to look them up and get more ideas for our family.

Please let me know by either leaving a comment in the box below or emailing me ([email protected]) if your family has decided to accept the challenge and also any ideas you have brainstormed so far. Throughout the year please also send me your stories of how your children have impacted others. Thanks. This way we can encourage each other in raising children to impact the world!

Will you accept the challenge?

2 thoughts on “Will you accept the challenge?

  1. Michelle

    What an inspiring article. This is a real challenge, but one I think will be great for our family. We plan to sit down in the term break and brainstorm some ideas we could do. To be honest though, we only know two of our neighbors in a very long street and they are neither elderly, infirm or have new babies. This may be a great chance to reach out and get to know the rest of our neighbors….

    • Jane Post author

      Love this Michelle. As you said, perhaps now is a great time to start to get to know the rest of your neighbours. We have over 50 houses in our street and we organise an annual Christmas party for everyone to get together and new residents to meet their neighbours. Plus, whenever anyone new moves into the street, we take them a home cooked meal in a throw away container for dinner that evening that they move their furniture in. Sometimes it is inconvenient cooking something that day but the results are always worth it. Sometimes it is easier to start away from your own street when doing acts of kindness.

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