I am always unsure when I take my kids out in public how it is going to go. I usually have a decent idea of their moods before we walk out the door. For example this morning Margo had broken down in tears 3 times for no apparent reason. Usually I would nix any plans I had because I don’t want to deal with the pain of her bad mood.
However, we had committed to volunteer. So we had to go, bad mood or not.
I have to admit, I am an introvert. Just recently have I come out of my shell enough to start doing things with the kids that involve a lot of interaction with other people. I have been wanting the kids develop a habit of volunteerism, but it can be a challenge to find something that I can do with an 8 yo, 4 yo, and 2 yo.
Going to nursing homes/assisted living facilities have been the best by far. The residents like seeing the kids play and just being kids. The kids usually have a good time because the activities person always have really fun games or crafts for them to do.
When I announced what we were doing, the kids started protesting.
“But I am shy.” Isaac yells. (Yeah right)
“I don’t like when people look at me.” Rebecca mutters with her head in a book.
“I think you guys can survive an hour of bringing joy into someone else’s day.”
“I’ll do it,” Rebecca replies, “But I won’t like it.”
“That’s the volunteer spirit, way to go.” I say ignoring her attitude.
So I walked in the doors a little hesitantly. Rebecca was mad because she couldn’t read. Isaac was insisting he was too shy, and Margo kept crying if someone looked cross-eyed at her.
I hope they don’t kick us out.
The hour we spent there was fantastic. The kids basically batted a balloon around with the residents while we chatted. My kids of course would never answer a direct question, but the women were happy to have some kids around and to talk with me about their days raising their own kids.
It wasn’t long before Isaac “came out of his shell” and started coming up with funny things to keep people laughing. The women adored Margo and her bright red hair. She amazed them with her ability to run headfirst into a chair while chasing a balloon and get up as if nothing happened.
As we were packing up at the end of the visit. Isaac turned to everyone and said, “Well, we will see you next month.”
Apparently their visit wasn’t as terrible as they told me it would be, and I was proud of them for choosing to do this again. They went from begrudging participants to actually enjoying themselves. Isaac even wanted to stay and serve them lunch. (If only he was that helpful at home)
It was a good lesson for me and I am glad that I accepted the invitation to go. Even though sitting down and making small talk with complete strangers is not at the top of my list, we got a lot out of it. The kids really do enjoy doing volunteer events like this and hopefully it will encourage them later in life to find opportunities to get out there and serve others in whatever way they can.
I am really proud of my kids today.
Hopefully they don’t ruin it