i recently made a wonderful discovery
when playing with a couple of my grandies
at the park across the street from my house.
the people in my local community
who visit the park or live nearby
leave toys behind
for any and all children to play with.
what a simple, powerful, and generous act
what an amazing way to teach children gratitude
of sharing what we have
with others in the world
who may not have as much.
“the essence of community, its heart and soul,
is the non-monetary exchange of value;
things we do and share because we care for others,
and for the good of the place.”
― dee hock, One from Many
we stopped to listen to an ensemble of young girls
playing lovely music at the weekend farmer’s market.
their teacher said they were in the 8th grade
where everyone is asked
to contribute something to the community.
these girls chose to offer what they had to give –
their natural gift of music.
they had to organize the day
by asking permission to play somewhere
planning what to wear
being on time
remembering their music and instruments.
all of the money they earned
went to a local charity.
it was a beautiful lesson.
“music is the movement of sound
to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”
“i would give money to people who need it”
(grandie b’s answer when asked what she would do if someone gave her $100)
kindness in words creates confidence.
kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
kindness in giving creates love.
skip the religion and politics, head straight to the compassion.
everything else is a distraction.
– talib kweli
credits: open homes, open hearts, ahmad alhssani
grandbaby b and daughter deliver
three of us:
one daughter, h
one grandie, b
(not the wisemen)
of thanksgiving baskets
filled with donated food
provided by many,
in the struggling community
around the school
where h teaches
each and every day
and how lucky
that we were able
to show up
at one of her student’s houses
and the little one was shocked
when she opened the door
and saw her teacher, h
with a basket of things
to make her holiday special
and when this child
with so many life challenges understood
that her teacher had chosen her house to visit
she grabbed her hand and didn’t let go
and her baby sister came to join in the fun
and grandbaby b joined in the fun
and on the next day of school
this little student
who didn’t have much to call her own
brought a gift
to thank her teacher, h
and told her:
“you brought me thanksgiving food so I brought you a balloon.”
and the joy of giving
just kept rolling on.
there are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
– khalil gibran
halifax, nova scotia’s residents have recently been seeing an interesting sight: coats tied to street poles. at first, one might think that these clothes are lost, but they’ve actually been put there for a specific reason. if you look closely, there are labels attached to the jackets that read, “we’re not lost! if you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm!”
every year, tara smith-atkins works to help the homeless brave winter’s freezing temperatures. she asks the community to donate old coats and then invites local children to help her tie them to lamp posts for those in need. they also bring along scarves and mittens.
as the kids are tying outerwear to the poles, she aims to teach them an important lesson. she explained, “When we got back in the car after an hour on the street, they were all freezing and crying for the heater to be on and complaining because they were cold. and they were bundled up.” not only is the compassionate woman working to help the homeless, she’s also teaching young children the significance of what they’re doing. next year, smith-atkins hopes to include a $5 voucher in each coat pocket so the wearer can buy themselves a hot meal.
credits: halifolks, tara smith-atkins, amy poehler’s smart girls, ann gragert
grandies j and b
get ready for the big race
their first 5k
as a family
following in the footsteps
of mom and dad
making me proud
all to raise money
hope water project
a human cause
that helps bring
clean water to africa
something so many of us
take for granted
each and every day.
every cause produces more than one effect.
– herbert spencer
as my son-in-law returns late tonight from a trip working with children in haiti, and his wife, my daughter, prepares to soon leave to do the same in kenya, i am struck by the unending giving spirit and nature of people in this world who understand we are all one. i look to each of them as models, for me and for others, and i plan to follow in their footsteps and do the same.