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    "Generation X Raising Generation" O & "Raising Generation O" & "The End of Irony in American Family Life: Raising Generation O"© Lisa Catherine Harper 2008\All rights reserved
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What We Did on the National Day of Service

We decided to stay local, as that would have the most meaning for our children, ages 4 & 6, and there were no official events that were especially appropriate or safe for them. Also, because they’re so young, we decided against hosting something official, that would put them in contact with people we didn’t know.  We’ve just given a lot to our local food pantry through our school, and have 4 big bags of donations ready to drop off at a local home that provides education, support, and services for women and children, and we’d also donated every single book we don’t read anymore to a used toy drive right before Christmas.

Our goal was to get them thinking Not About Themselves for a day.

Given these circumstances, Ella & Finn decided they would clean up our neighborhood. But first they woke up and ate bowls of Panda Puffs, panda_puffs_productlarge1by Envirokidz, which is a decent way to start your day, aside from the relatively high sugar content, since the company donates 1% of its profits to saving said endangered animal featured on each cereal box, and features nifty facts and games about the animals.

Then, we each got bags and walked up and down our street and picked up trash. There was not a lot, but not none either. It wasn’t gross, mostly scraps of paper and recyclables, and we used plastic bags to handle things that looked very dirty.  On the way back, we picked up their bikes and headed to the park, collecting trash along the way. The kids were terrific, and I only felt slightly weird and virtuous picking up other peoples’ Juicy Fruit boxes while every other mother and father and child was playing soccer or pushing swings or doing things people do on days “off.”  No one bothered to ask what we were doing or why and we didn’t volunteer and our kids thought it was the most normal thing in the world.

All in all it was a small, quiet way to do something beyond themselves, and to introduce doing something as a normal part of their day.

After, they played at the park until it was time for lunch, and Kory and I sat on the grass in the sun and planned the party, and for a few minutes, everything was right in the world.


One Response

  1. In our house, those are known as “Kung Fu Panda Puffs,” and they are a favorite.

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