Thursday, November 8, 2012

Help This Woman: Ideas for Kids and Volunteering

Last year, about this time, I wrote this:
"My sorry, fat, over-privileged, first world ass is starting a new tradition: Every week between Thanksgiving and New Years, I’m doing something service-oriented. ...this year is different. My kids are a little older. I have a tiny bit more autonomy because no one is breastfeeding and even my littlest is in preschool two days a week. I really can do something. And I’m going to try and do as much of it as possible with my kids." Here's the thing - I'm a giant, idiotic boobstain and I still think I can pull this off.

Let me be totally honest with you. I did something every week but not with my kids... Well, they participated in some of it. The majority of what they did was help me buy stuff for other people at Target and then ride around in the Big White Tampon while we delivered it all. They made some cards and wrapped some presents. They also really enjoyed the part where I snappishly ignored them for two weeks to focus on helping hookers.

Let me be even more honest, and I hope you won't judge me for this. My kids aren't spoiled exactly, they just have no idea. I grew up poor. I lived in Section 8 housing with my mom for five years. I remember vividly what it was like to be the poor kid, to wear crappy clothes and bobo sneakers (does anyone still call them that? Bobo?). My parents took good and loving care of me, but they could not spare me from feeling the fear and anxiety that comes from being poor. 

Before the Cap'n and I started a family, we swore we'd fight to keep that fear and anxiety from our kids. That we would do whatever we could to spare them that. Fast forward about ten years. Yesterday, I found myself saying: "IF YOU COMPLAIN ONE MORE TIME ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU ONLY HAVE TWO PAIRS OF JEGGINGS, I AM GOING TO SET THEM ALL ON FIRE."

Bad mommy, shame. But I wonder now if the stuff we've worked so hard to shield them from aren't the very things that we need to be teaching them about. I don't want to make them feel the worry that I did, but neither do I want them to take anything for granted. Basically it boils down to this: I have middle class kids. And I do not want them to grow up to be ungrateful, over-entitled a-holes. 

So here is what I'm asking. I want to make a huge list of things kids can do to actively help others. And I want to start them young. I need your suggestions on specific, age-appropriate activities that different aged kids can do to help other people and give back to the community. And when we've made our huge list of things that kids can do, we can print it out and hang it on the fridge and point to it every time one of our offspring says "I'm bored" or complains that they're only seventh grader without an iPhone.

Here's what I mean:

Ages 2-4: 
Make cards for wounded soldiers
Sort through toys and clothes to find items to donate

Ages 5-8:
Make bag lunches for the homeless at a nearby shelter
Offer to do chores for to raise money for a charity

Ages 9-12:
Start a canned food drive
Offer help to elderly or sick friends and neighbors

Teenagers:
Prepare and deliver meals to folks who are home-bound
Volunteer at a non-profit or community event

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and ideas. You hookers are the best.
xo, Lydia 

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The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help. And if you follow me, I promise to follow you back! It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.
If you're already on Sweet Relish and you want to find me, click here.
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( (c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

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