As a mom, I have so many responsibilities for taking care of my children. On the surface, it can easily look like those tasks include making sure they are fed, bathed, have clothes, etc. But in reality, it’s so much more than that.
It’s a huge undertaking to become a parent, much bigger than I ever expected and so much more than anyone ever prepared me for. It is my husband and I who help mold our children to become who they are and who they will be. Although, ultimately they will be who they want to be, it’s our job to be that example for them — and that’s a massive responsibility.
I’d like to say that I’m doing a stellar job as their mom, and on some days that might be the case. But there is always room for improvement. Recently I was reminded of how much more I could be doing to show my children that there are little things that we can do throughout our daily life that not only help us improve as people, but also helps others.
Recently, Disney Junior celebrated the summer with their event, “Pirate and Princess: Power of Doing Good” and it reminded me of how important it is to teach my daughters from a young age to volunteer their time to help others. We are big fans of Disney Junior in our house and it’s nice to know that my children can learn something while relaxing on the couch with their favorite television shows. “The Power of Doing Good” is all about showing children that it’s never too young to start volunteering. The sooner that they start, the quicker it becomes a habit, which in turn can help both your children and those around them. Volunteering can help them learn new skills, become better at skills they already know, and become more connected to the community around them.
“The Power of Doing Good” emphasizes the importance of four main pillars in life: storytelling, community, animals, and nature. Here’s how I’ve incorporated these important facets of life into our everyday lives:
They’re reading (and being read to) daily.
We started reading to all of our children soon after they were born. Sure, they had no idea what was going on, but it helped us become more in the habit of reading to them on a regular basis. There have been many studies that have shown the benefits of reading to our children. (It helps build their vocabulary and imagination.)
My oldest daughter, who will be 5 next month, just started reading. I’ve caught her many times on the baby monitor reading to her little sister after I’ve put them to bed. It’s one of those moments in motherhood that you wish you could wrap up and put it in your pocket to cherish forever. Our youngest daughter, Avery, is only 2 and much too young to read, but she’s deep into the pretend stage and loves to “read” books to her new baby brother. She will grab a couple of books and sit down next to him to tell him stories. It’s so sweet to see her using her imagination so that her little brother can enjoy a little bit of entertainment.
They’re learning how to help the community — by helping me.
We just moved from Manhattan to the suburbs, so now is a perfect time for us to get involved in the community. We don’t know many people in our new city, so joining those around us to help build a better community is a perfect way to accomplish that. While I thought that getting my kids involved in the community fell under the categories of helping pick up trash or recycling, the Pirate and Princess event taught me that it’s so much more than that.
Most of the time helping within our community includes things that my children are already doing. Helping me set the table, packing the diaper bag for a day out, or even sorting the laundry that’s ready to be washed. It’s simple things (or chores) that my oldest loves helping out with that are teaching them how to help those around them. Once they get older, I plan to take it a step further and actually get out to help those less fortunate in our community. I’ll have them help me sort their old clothes and toys they no longer play with so that we can donate them or set up a lemonade stand to raise money for a local charity.
They’re taking care of our family pets.
We have two little dogs at home that my kids love so much. My oldest has just started taking on the chore of feeding them and getting them water every day. She loves doing it and feels so accomplished knowing that she is taking care of her animal friends. When we go on family walks, the girls take turns holding onto the leash so that they can walk them. Once they are old enough, I’m going to take them to the local animal shelter to volunteer there. Whether it’s helping feed them or just running around and playing with the pets, I know everyone involved will have a great time.
They’re taking care of the environment.
A simple thing that my parents taught me early on was to always turn off the water while brushing my teeth. The girls were reminded that it’s a simple way to help the environment at the Pirates and Princesses event. We also have fun recycling in our house. The girls know there is a special bucket for our recyclables and it’s their job to help me put them in there. Since our new house is much bigger than our apartment in NYC, there are many more lights to turn on and off. Before we leave the house I assign each girl a room to make sure that the lights are off. Not only are we saving energy, but we are saving money on our electricity bill.
There are so many things that our children are doing on a daily basis that helps do good for others. Yes, even the little things. We can build on those things to create even more opportunities that will encourage help others. By showing our children the power of doing good, it’s teaching them that being powerful doesn’t have a minimum age. They can start now. We can start now. Let’s all join in the Power of Doing Good.
Photo courtesy of ThinkStock