Last week I mentioned my oldest son was doing his student council duties and attending to his shift at the canned food drive the student council was putting on for the local soup kitchen. He was happy to report that his 4th graders did beat all the other grades by bringing in 125 cans, happily noting that 10 of them were ours. He tallied them up and they had received 450 cans, well shy of the 625 cans they had hoped to reach. With a heavy heart, my son announced to his school that they hadn’t reached their goals but that they did a great job. 450 cans were a lot better than none. Still, he was disappointed that they didn’t at least achieve the goal they set. I told him that they did a great job, and that soup kitchen was 450 cans richer.
I tried to teach him the most important lesson of all, something I try to tell him every chance I get: holidays aren’t the only time of year you need to do good things, you should do them every day. Change in the world and helping others isn’t something you can accomplish one or two days a year. To accomplish these goals you need to work every day of your life and urge your children to do the same. Eventually, it’ll stick whether it be a year from now or generations. It shouldn’t matter whether or not we can see the change, but knowing somewhere you were a part of the change should be amazing enough.
I hope my children learn this lesson. Thanksgiving may be a time of year for helping and eating a ton of turkey and pie, but it’s a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done around us. We need to forget that these holidays exist for any other reason than an excuse to see family, drink a lot, and forget that you’re on a diet. We should remember that homeless and poor people don’t just exist once or twice a year, that they have to live their life that way and we should help them in some way when we can. You don’t need money to help, you just need to have the time.