6 Nov
Posted in: parenting
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Modeling a Heart for Community Service

John F Kennedy quote on community service

Near the top of my list of things I was not prepared for when it came to motherhood was the degree of mommy guilt I would feel. That guilt settles in, and I struggle shaking it off. I irrationally feel I have to be at everything in order to validate that part of our children’s lives. It’s ridiculous. It’s fine if dad goes to a school party instead of me. Every assembly doesn’t require parental attention. The kids are allowed to have a life of their own. I wish I could follow them around at all times to see for myself how this life is playing out for them in detail, but I wouldn’t do a very good job of raising fully-capable people if their mom hung around every second.

My mom guilt has been in overdrive this month, and we’re only on day six. In truth, I felt guilty about this month back in September when I knew my November schedule would be full. I have a lot of the “M” word this month….meetings. There are multiple nights with long meetings and a fair amount of prep work for all those meetings.

The beauty of working part-time from home is being available. I thought I prepared the kids for decreased availability this month, but I was wrong. Our breakfast conversation:

J: (Sigh) Why can’t someone else go to the meetings?

Me: There are other people at the meetings. We work together as a team to accomplish our goals.

J: (More sighing) But why do YOU have to be one of the people at the meetings?

That’s the question. Why can’t someone else do it? The best way to teach our children about the need for serving in their community is to serve. I’ve volunteered at preschool, in children’s ministry at church, and in the public school system. I enjoy all those ways to serve the smaller communities my family belongs, but I wanted to serve our town in a volunteer position I’m passionate about it. For me it revolves around literacy and public libraries.

It’s not always easy to serve. I had loads of excuses even with school volunteering. I didn’t know anyone. I may not understand what needs to be done. It takes too much time.

I wasn’t going to know anyone if I never positioned myself to meet people. If I don’t quite understand what I’m asked to do, I defer to someone who does. All organizations need a myriad of talents to be successful. I know what I excel at and what I don’t. I help in the ways I’m best suited. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t label themselves as “busy.” Everyone is to a degree. Time is a precious commodity. My favorite John F. Kennedy quote is the basis to a lot of preaching I do to my children. He said,“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

I’m not always as eloquent as JFK when I attempt to explain this concept to our children who will one day be the adults in charge. When I preach there’s a lot of hand waving and maybe the occasional finger pointing. Taking care of our communities, our athletic teams, schools, bands, town, county, state and country, is important. The degree to which we participate and are involved in those communities effects whether we thrive or stagnant. The giving of your time and talents is necessary for a thriving community. We are better together.


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