Saturday, February 25, 2012

Laundry Detergent and Life Lessons

Day 143 
“If you have a lot it’s your responsibility to help others,” starts my husband. 

“We don’t live in a mansion,” counters A. 

I wonder when the word “mansion” slipped into his kindergarten vocabulary.  He’s right.  We don’t.  We live in a comfortable home with a room for each of our boys and a fenced yard for Spot.  A creek borders our back property line and runs the length of the neighborhood and gives my kids plenty of opportunities to explore and find adventure.  We have friendly, thoughtful neighbors who bring us meals when Momma’s sick and keep an extra set of eyes open when I. speed races down the street on his bike. 

I’d be lying if I said my husband and I haven’t on occasion complained about wanting a bigger house.  More space!  Bigger yard!  Our eyes go misty at the idea of a new master bathroom to replace the 45-year-old plumbing we have. 

Then reality sets in.  And we look around and realize everything we need is here.  And this is enough.  Dreaming of the next best thing is dangerous.  If you want for more, you’ll always want for more.      

“There will always be people with more than us,” I explain.  “But if you look around, I think you’ll see we have a lot.”  

Our comments are part of a running conversation in our home.  We want to teach our kids social responsibility.  We want them to understand you don’t need to know someone to help them.  We want them to find pleasure in helping others so it’s something they willingly choose to do.

This blog, our family’s own personal social experiment, helps.  The kids look forward to finding ways to be kind, not always to one another, but we’re working on it. 

What prompted tonight’s talk are the donated laundry detergent bottles and Clorox wipes piled in the back of the SUV we gathered at tonight’s school event.  The collection is part of our school’s continued partnership with a school in Over-The-Rhine, a school located in a desperate neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati.  Describing it as desperate is kind. 

In the morning, I’ll drive the supplies down to the school where they’ll be distributed to families who need them most.  The detergent will help wash their clothes, but where will the food come to feed their families or the heat to keep their homes warm?  What things exist to keep them safe?     

I don’t want my kids to ever take what they have for granted.  Yes, we could have more, but we also could have a lot, tons, a whole world less.  

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