So I've been thinking. I know, it's terrifying, but stick with me here. A few years ago I started walking regularly. Well, as regularly as the northeast's mood swingy weather will allow. I did this because I remember when I was a kid my Aunt Margie used to walk every evening, and it was just the thing she did. It was her habit. However, the objective of my walking was not to build my own habit but to create one for my kids. My hope is that when they are grown, going for walks will just be the thing they do.
Since we are a few years into building that habit, I thought it might be a good time to start building another. (I believe in pacing myself.) I briefly considered teaching my kids ways to waste their time using only the Internet but decided instead to go with volunteer work. (I didn't want to have to share my computer with those pip squeaks.) Since my kids are only 4 and 6, I'm struggling to figure out a good way to get all of us involved in helping others. I want the kids to be able to participate, and it's stumped me a bit. Then I had a genius idea: why not ask the kids themselves how they'd like to help others. (Told you it was genius.)
Our first brainstorming session went something like this:
Anthony: We can let them watch T.V.
Me: Good idea, buddy, but how does that help people exactly?
Mallory: Well, maybe they don't have a T.V., and they could come to our house, and we could let them watch the news?
It was at this time I felt it might be wise to discuss what kind of situations that people might find themselves in that they would need help. We talked about the homeless, the hungry, the elderly, and when we were all done, the kids sat over their breakfast bowls deep in thought about ways to help others. Actually, I'm pretty sure Anthony was thinking about toys, but Mallory was still trying to figure out how to help. I know this because a minute later, she looked up at me and said, "We should go to India. Lots of people in India need help."
"Right, right. You're right," I said to her. "But there are people here in the U.S. that need help too." (It's not that I don't care about the people of India; it's just that Mallory's passport is expired, so I'm thinking we are going to have to do something a little closer to home.) She seemed to grasp the concept of helping locally because later she looked out our kitchen window and saw a women sitting in her car by the mailboxes. The woman was just sitting there, and Mallory put two and two together and said, "We should go help her. I don't think she can get her key to work in her mailbox." I peeked out the window and sure enough there was a woman in her car by the mailboxes, but she wasn't struggling with her key. Nope, she was reading her mail in her car.
At least her heart is in the right place.
So to review my options: We could invite strangers over to watch T.V. at our house. We could go to India, or we could read mail to people (or check their mail for them).
It's kind of starting to look like I should renew Mallory's passport.