Our First Family “Good Deeds Week”, 2010

Lemonade Stand for Pakistan (after an earthquake)

READERS! Don’t forget GOOD DEEDS WEEK 2011 starts Saturday, Aug. 13th! Here’s the back-story…

Last summer I planned our first annual family “Good Deeds Week” for me and the kids. I had a week off from teaching and the kids had a week before school started, and I thought it would be a great time to be intentionalabout showing them what it means to give to our community, to share what we have, to be a good neighbor, to volunteer.  In reflecting on my own childhood and youth, I realized how influential my parents were in instilling such values in me, just by giving me the chance to do “good deeds”. We often went to sing at nursing homes, sometimes with Mom on her guitar, sometimes caroling with the church choir. As a teenager, I always participated

Stewpot tour

in our church’s “Community Ministries Week”, even returning to lead the program between college semesters. Having the opportunities to volunteer and give back in those developmental years shaped my life’s path, and I am grateful to them for that gift.  I want to do the same for my children. I organized a few little events for us, and every day we repeated, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. At bed-time, I told the story of the “Good Samaritan” to MJ, asking “Who do you think was the good neighbor?”, and talking about the ways we can be good neighbors to other people. We sang “This Little Light of Mine” every morning at the breakfast table as we lit the candle.

We held a lemonade stand in the yard for to send money to UNICEF for earthquake relief in Pakistan, we took diapers and

Making music for Harry

Cooking dinner for our neighbors

toothbrushes to the Stewpot, we went on a walk to pick up litter nearby, we made dinner for our neighbors, we made cookies for helpers. We went to a nursing home, with home-made cards, smiling faces, and instruments in tow. MJ passed out instruments, and played his harmonica for a friend of ours in the Alzheimer’s unit as we sang “You are My Sunshine”.  I wore Ellie on my back, MJ passed out his cards as we walked by folks, and even let someone give him a hug!  As we left, Ellie got out of the backpack, and I held her hand as we paraded through the dining room , singing “Wave Hello, hello”, which she did, and everyone loved it! I was so proud of them for spreading joy and love like that, and said so.

The whole experience brought us closer together, helped us to recognize opportunities for “good deeds” all around us, gave me a

Making cookies

chance to model and label important values for them, and learn from their generous and loving hearts, as well. This year I wanted to share the idea with other families,  spread the love a little further, and multiply the good deeds. So, thanks for joining us for GOOD DEEDS WEEK 2011.  Let’s make it a tradition!

Let me know…as your family gives back together, what are you getting out of it in return?