Originally posted by jimmiec
reply to post by InhaleExhale
Awsome! I have been wondering if it would be a good idea to teach our children at a young age what that feeling of helping others is. Once they feel
it they might crave it. There are certainly worse addictions. How do you think we could go about doing that in our public schools without them feeling
forced into helping others? If they feel forced into it i doubt it would take hold. Ideas?
It's funny because we are constantly doing fundraisers at our school--for the school. Every once in a while there is a canned food drive, but let's
be serious, people are only bringing in things that no one wants to eat or is nearly expired in their pantries. You are so right, empathy for others
SHOULD be taught in the schools in a bigger way.
I'll tell you what we do with our kids. My husband and I, for the past 6 years or so, make Thanksgiving plates. We make about 5 or 6, large plates,
with all of the sides, a plate of desserts, and put them in a bag with salt & pepper, napkins, bottled water and juice boxes, and the kids write a
letter or draw a picture for each one. After we have dinner and after it has gotten dark, we drive to downtown Denver and hand them out to the
homeless. Last year, we brought used sleeping bags, coats (men & womens), new thick mens socks, and a $5 gift card for McDonalds, so they can go in
and at least have a $1 sandwich or 5 trips in for coffee to get warm, something for after the food is gone. Our kids ALWAYS come with us. They hand
them the food, we talk to them for a little while, and we go on our way. You would be amazed at how thin the line is between homeless and not. Some
people just have bad luck in a bad economy. I have never met a "crazy" homeless person or a dangerous one. People always think we're nuts or even
bad parents for bringing our kids out to the streets to do this, but we always judge the safety as best we can, and nothing bad has ever happened. In
fact... want a nice story?
When we went last year, we ran out of plates quickly. Usually, we were hard-pressed to find people to give the food to. Last year, we didn't have
enough plates, so we ran down to the McDonald's and got a couple of gift cards for these two men, because we felt bad that they saw us handing out
food and didn't have anything for them. They were very grateful and talked with us and the kids and when we got back with the gift cards, they
couldn't believe we actually showed up. The one guy had two McDonald's coupon for a free happy meal and gave them to our kids. I insisted he
didn't, but he insisted. He wanted to make sure that when our kids had those happy meals, they would remember him. He said that McDonald's
wouldn't let him redeem them anyway, because he wasn't a child, even though he was homeless. Anyway, he wanted the kids to remember him and to
remember that there is good everywhere, you just have to look for it, just as we had showed him kindness that night. We gave him the cards and his
brother a coat and he a sleeping bag. When we got back to our car, I cried at how good it made us feel and how much good WE saw that night in OTHERS.
Our children are raised to understand that the life we have NOW is good, but we work hard for it and sometimes even if you work hard for it, you can
lose it in the blink of an eye. We don't turn our heads and look away from plight, rather we see it, do what we can for it, and appreciate that we
aren't in that situation NOW, but anything could happen, you just never know.
Sadly, Denver passed a law that basically makes it illegal to be homeless, because sleeping on the streets is considered overnight camping. Because
of this, we aren't able to do the thanksgiving plates as much, simply because the homeless have been sent packing. I did see a couple in a bus stop
enclosure yesterday, and that was a first in a while. I'm not down there enough, but since they law came into effect, it definitely has cleared out
the homeless population and made helping them harder.