This weekend my family participated in our second annual “I will not be selfish” event. Okay, it’s really called “Adopt-a-Family” but my family has inherited its own title.
Last December was the first time we participated. It involved going to a place in a part of our city we wouldn’t normally be in. It involved spending a portion of our day serving others. It involved giving…in other words, being selfless.
When our children first learned of this event last year, they were horrified. In fact, two of my children had especially bad attitudes about it. One declared that the scowl on their face would remain on it; nothing was going to change that. Another one, with arms folded, announced they weren’t going to help.
I would say within 20 minutes of the event starting, the scowl was replaced by a smile and the arms that had been folded in defiance were now serving plates of hotcakes and sausage. It turned out to be one of our favorite activities together as a family.
So when I told my children we were doing the same thing this year, I was only met with a little bit of selfishness. This time it was about how long we were going to be there. “That long?” After all, they had things to do you know…like getting back to their video games and texting their friends.
Despite that little bit of selfishness, I saw things in my children that I really appreciated. For instance, my 17-year-old son chose going to this event over working. Yes, instead of getting paid for the day, he wanted to volunteer his time. And he even managed to get past the need to look cool by wearing a hairnet while he served spaghetti (I promised him I wouldn’t post his photo on my blog).
But what was honestly the best part of this event was when I had to tell my children that part of their Christmas presents wouldn’t be given to them until a few days after Christmas. The reason was that I decided to spend a little more money on the family we adopted than originally planned.
I wasn’t sure what their reaction would be, since in all honesty I thought I would hear at the very least some complaining. But what I got back was, “That’s okay.”
Bit by bit, the selfishness seems to get chiseled away with events such as this. My hope is that this instills in them a giving spirit that remains throughout their lifetimes.
(Photo Above is my 12 Year Old Son Serving Cookies)