Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raising a Good Person

How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. 
--Anne Frank

If I had to sum up my goal is a parent it's to raise a good person.  As part of this goal, it's very important to me that my son grow up with the confidence that he can change things, that he can make a difference.  

But how do you teach this to a five-year old?  To me, thinking of others and of what we can do to help is a habit.  It's not something big we do once a year at Christmastime.  

I want to show him that it's the little things we do each day that really add up.  What better way to show this to a child than by example?

Looking back over just the past two months since I've been keeping this blog, I thought of three examples of "the little things" we've done to improve our little slice of the world.


In March, we picked this sweet little stray dog on our way home from our trip to Branson.

As you can see, she was in very bad shape.  (Makes me so sad to look at these.)

But although we had no intentions of getting another dog, we couldn't leave her there.  My son has watched us take her to the vet several times, give her medicine, and nurse her back to health.  Now she is a much-valued member of our family and we feel like the lucky ones.

Notice how her tongue hangs out when she sleeps.  :)

They have the entire yard to lay in,
yet they're always on top of one another.

The Homeless

About a week ago, my son and I decided we were going to pack a picnic to take to the park downtown.  I mentioned to him that I was going to bring extra food for the homeless I often see in the area.  

My son's little mind began to work and we had a wonderful conversation about what it means to be homeless.  It made me so happy when he got excited to help.

So, we set out enough food to feed the two of us plus four more lunches.

And, as promised, he was right there to help out.

After handing out the extra lunches we sat down to enjoy our lunch.  Madd said it felt good to help other people.  

It was a good thing we passed out the lunches when we did because out of nowhere, it started to pour.  We got soaked, but it only added to the fun.


[First, just let me say it's very hard to take myself seriously right now with that picture staring me in the face.  I'm sure you're having the same problem... so let's scroll down.]

Okay, much better.  Now where were we?  

On Earth Day, I gave my non-traditional views on saving the planet.  Then I stated that our household would be implementing a change, but didn't mention what it was.

Well, now you know.  We decided to start recycling.  My hope is that my son will develop a habit of recycling so that he'll continue doing so as an adult.  

I must admit, when I started recycling I didn't think we'd have much to recycle.  WRONG.

These bins are pretty big and they're practically overflowing by the time we set them out for pick up every Monday.  

So yes, these are three very small examples.  And yes, I'm sure my son won't remember these exact events when he's older.  But it's about how they add up.  It's about developing a habit to look around you and to see how you can help.  

And in the process of doing these little acts of kindness and thoughtfulness, I know I am making my greatest contribution to the world:  I'm molding my son into a good person.

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