giving back


I’m guilty of shutting off the TV or flipping the newspaper page when I see bad news. I know I shouldn’t turn a blind eye, but I often internalize it a great deal. This feeling was even stronger when I became a mother. Bad news involving kids? I can’t even.

Same goes for book club selections that deal with heavy, especially non-fiction, topics. I occasionally find myself nervous to crack the cover. I also avoid all movies that involve any kind of intensity above and beyond the Marvel variety (read: totally, completely fictionalized).

When faced with a news story or a novel depicting real, and sometimes tragic, events, I mind-over-matter it by reminding myself that it’s my civic duty of sorts to be educated and enlightened, even if the circumstances are hard for me to wrap my head (or my heart) around.

So then I think (following my train of thought can often be challenging), that the least I can do by way of the aforementioned education and enlightenment and civic duty would be to give back to my own community in a more regular way. Find ways to make our world better in our own little way. And, by virtue of embodying this idea personally, I can share this concept and desire with my kids.

We’ve looked for community service projects, but it’s tricky to find formal options to include the kids. We visited a dear friend’s mom in the nursing home a couple of Christmases ago and brought gifts to share with the residents. That was such a lovely experience that we need to do again soon. Instead of chocolate advent calendars this year, we each donated an item each to the food bank for each day leading up to Christmas. This was a big hit for all of us and will definitely be an annual tradition now. Something else Jacob and I have discussed but haven’t done yet is to go for walks more often and take grocery bags with us so we can pick up litter in our neighbourhood. Now that winter is finally thawing, it’s a great time for us to start that, too. If you’ve got ideas that can involve elementary schoolers, I’m open to suggestions!

I guess what I’m hoping is that maybe creating more of our own good news will help even out at least a tiny bit of the bad news.


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