Some other homeschooling families I've come across have expressed interest in getting their children involved in community services. There are several to choose from. St. John's Ambulance, zoos, Meals on Wheels, Lions or Rotary clubs, not to mention Boy Scouts or Girl Guides, or Cubs or Scouts or Gumnuts or similar groups of other names along these lines. It could give you a headache if you try to decide on one that might suit the talents or skills of your family when they all sound so good. In the past, it often has given me one. Especially as many of them seem to require their own financial and time commitments. But I've latched onto an idea for getting out there and doing a bit of good in the local community that has no fixed cost and can be done anywhere or anytime.
This begins with a story that happened last August. We were planning to attend a birthday party for my oldest nephew, Jarrad's, 17th. I'd been talking to my sister on the phone earlier that morning, and she mentioned that one of the boys' friends who was going to be there also had his birthday that same day. He decided to go to Jarrad's party rather than celebrate at home with his own family. We know this boy fairly well, as he's often over visiting when we're there too. So when I hung up the phone, I thought, "It might be nice if we stopped to buy a birthday card and maybe some chocolates for Matthew too." I already had a card and present for Jarrad, so it would've meant calling in at the shops again. But Emma's ballroom dancing class ran a little over time, we were in a hurry to get going, Blake had already done enough walking around, so although I could have easily stopped at the shops, when the time came, I decided not to bother. It seems to be always easier 'not to bother' when the job is something that doesn't really need to be done. We had a fun night and I forgot all about this.
Then a few weeks later in early August, my Bible Study group was watching "The Purpose of Community" videos with Pastor Rick Warren. During the first study, he challenged us on whether we were really living lives of love. He said something like, "You might think you are, but do you do acts of kindness whenever you have the opportunity or only when it suits you?" And although I hadn't given it a second thought until then, I instantly thought, "Ooops, there was that time a few weeks ago when I didn't buy Matthew a birthday card."
The thing is, it's so easy to reason that this sort of thing doesn't really make all that much difference to anybody in the great scheme of things. That's why it's so easy not to bother doing them. But I knew in my heart I'd been especially convicted about this. Now I think that these small acts really do make a difference. They are the little stitches that altogether make a huge tapestry, not only in our own personal lives but in the grand scheme of all the good things that ever get done by anybody. So this year I want to do, and encourage my children, to do all the nice things that occur to us whether we think they'd matter or not. Because now I'm certain they will.
Last week I was doing an internet search and logged onto, www.helpingothers.org which gives many, many great ideas of simple and easy actions that can get us started. Maybe we get so caught up in wondering how our lives can "make a difference" in big ways, that we neglect to do little things. Then when we do no little things, big things don't get done anyway, because big things are made up of lots of little things. And I want to commit ourselves to not let a week pass without carrying out at least one or two. It was Mother Teresa who said, "We can't do great things but only little things with great love."