Monday, January 11, 2010
Don't be like me. In my haste to get a jump on the New Year and make appointments for my kids annual check-ups, I mindlessly made dentist appoinntments for my kids on my first day off in the New Year. This happened to be the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I don't think going to the dentist is what they were thinking about when they called the holiday, 'a day on.'
As a busy parent, every day is a day on.I tried to capitalize on the flexibility of my schedule on that day. Proponents of the holiday want us to capitalize on the ministry and message of the man for which the holiday is named, hopefully creating a climate of volunterism. Giving back to our community and society as whole, now that is a novel idea.It can be an extension of the spirit of giving felt during the Christmas season or a way to exunge the guilt of gluttony. Share the wealth. Pull up our shirt sleeves and help. The MLK holiday is a way to teach our children charity and compassion for others, much more than sitting in the dentist chair with a drill pointing at your molars.
Every year I tell myself I am going to get involved with some organization and bring at least my seven year old, Ms. Gimme gimme herself, along to engage in a service project that serves a heaping helping appreciation for someone other than herself.
Despite telling my relatives that the children had very few needs,the tree was teetering with gifts for my little lady. The more she received, the more she needed and wanted. "Can I get another game for my DS?" "Can I get a case for my cell phone?" You heard right, cell phone. This was a gift from a relative. I was told to stay out of it since I am not paying the bill. The sheer volume of stuff in her room and excess makes me sick at times. It doesn't leaveher more occupied or fufilled. Late holiday cards are still coming in with a ten or twenty tucked in it, 'for the kids to get themselves something.' She can be classified among the privelaged even though her parents are not. Surely, she should be building houses somewhere and helping to furnish it with her stuff. Seriously, there must be a donation center that I can back the house up to in order to a unload her gently worn wealth.
Parting with older toys and donating them is actually a great way to begin to teach young ones to be charitable.For real, this year I'm all in (right after the early morning appointment), and you should be also. It should be eay to find volunteer opportunities right? I found a few resorces and opportunities that I list below. Get your kids involved so that they understand societal needs go beyond this one day and most of these organizations dedicated to helping others need people to give of their time, service and wealth.
Disney World has a program called Give a Day, Get a Day where the family can volunteer aone of their recognized organizations around the country and receive a voucher for a day free at any of the Disney parks. Even if you don't plan to use the one day pass, I strongly suggest you enter your zip code and scan the clearinghouse of organizations needng assistance in your area.Find info at www.disneyparks.disney.go.com
Createthegood.org helps you specify how you'd like to create the good. Pick Animals, Education, Hunger, seniors or even MLK Day events. They have mini videos called Howcast you can show your kids to explain how they can be of service before actually doing it.
The Volunteer family is a website of opportunities for the whole family. www.thevolunteerfamily.org
Does your kids have duplicate gifts or you new toys they never used or are not interested in? Children's hospital has a toy closet of toys to give to long term patients and those seen in the clinics. They even provide toys to keep kids occupied in waiting rooms. Your kid can start a Spring or summer drive when donations are low and plan to ship or bring them to the volunteer center of the hospital. Find more info at www.childrenshospital.com/toycloset
Mentoring is big this year. Many celebrity personalites are starting or need help funding for projects to service youth with a Mentor. You may be thinking I have my own kids with schedules to keep up wth, how can I mentor? These programs have events where kids interact with other kids. Parents can also get involved with a push of the donate button. What a powerful message sent to our kids when we give. As a family (with kids that understand the concept of money)you can decide,"Mommy wants to give to this organization. How much shoud we give? Now this may mean we don't go out to eat after church or we sacrifice that ice cream every wednesday night." You get the point. Susan Taylor left Essence magazine with a goal to mentor kids. Read her platform at caresmentoring.com. Steveharvey.com supports mentoring that links men with boys, but also takes these kids to explore careers at Disney and life skills at Steve's Ranch. Michael Baisden has set up a website in the noble pursuit of getting a million mentors in ths decade. Check that out at amillionmentors.org
Whatever you do on the King Holiday don't just tell them about the characteristic of Dr. King, but honor him by showing our kids they poessess those same qualities too.