I fear I’m raising brats.
Not really, but we had a moment of “brattiness” following the tragic earthquake in Haiti.
I am an evening news watcher. If disturbing images come on I censor them, but I don’t lie to my kids about what is happening in the world as it is reality. If we see troops marching through Iraq, I point out they are protecting our country. A feel-good feature story comes on and we talk about what is happening.
When the searing images of the earthquake aftermath appeared - I didn’t censor, I explained to the boys what had occurred in “kid” terminology.
“There are big rocks under the ground and sometimes they move,” I said. “When they move everything on top shakes. Buildings fell down and many people are hurt or may have died.”
As they ate their dinner I reminded them to be thankful - people in Haiti lost everything. “Maybe we can send them this cup,” Noah said. “Then they will have something to drink.”
OK, not a bad start.
We talked about how the United States was going to help and that we could send some money to the Red Cross.
“We can give them some money from your piggy banks if you’d like,” I said with good intentions.
Noah thought about this for a moment and said, “Yeah! Then there will be more room in our piggy banks for money for us!”
My teaching moment went awry. “No. This isn’t about you,” I said.
I pointed to a picture on our fridge of a young girl named Venice who lives in the southern Philippines. We sponsor her through the Springfield based group, Naomi’s Heart Mission.
“She has to take her own chair to school,” I said. “Can you imagine carrying a chair to school?” He stared at me trying to process this information.
“It is time, I believe, for these boys to do some volunteer work.
While I seek some opportunities for the boys to get involved in the community, I think I will take them shopping.
Not shopping to buy anything for them, but to buy some needed items for Venice - a reminder that it’s “not all about them.”
I also realized that perhaps I should be setting a better example and get out into the “real-world” more myself.
That is a hard thing to admit, but it’s amazing what a mother can learn from her kids.
Do you have ideas for volunteer opportunities for young children? If so, please share them.
Email this contributing writer at Motherhoodcolumn@yahoo.com.