Last Friday, my girls and I sat on the couch watching a massive thunderstorm march across the television screen and the country, wreaking havoc and turning lives upside down. There was no Dorothy or Wizard of Oz in those thunderstorms. Just fear and pain. Fortunately, we were spared anything but some lightning and rain. Still, we watched.
As the stories of survival and loss have aired on the local television news this week, paired with stories of people pulling together to help out, my daughters watched that, too. And everyday they’ve said they wanted to help out. Of course, “things” got in the way, or we ran out of time. Finally, last night (in the rain), we ran to the store to get some things to donate. It’s all simple stuff. Mostly cleaning supplies, gloves and some paper plates (again, one of the girls came up with that one, but it made sense to me). Nothing exciting or flashy. I hope it helps.
It just so happened that yesterday a friend sent me an email about parenting that included a story on raising empathetic kids. You can read the story here. My kids’ interest in helping others became an object lesson for me. At times, I get frustrated because I feel that as a people we have lost that feeling of empathy—on a day-to-day basis, anyway. We blister others for their political beliefs, distrust religions and can be generally hateful to each other. But when things get tough, we do remember to pull together. Empathy comes out and we want to help each other. I wish all of us would remember that feeling on a daily basis and pull together—not just at the bad times, but during the good ones as well.
I know a lot of others are pitching in. The employees at my fiancée’s company (about 40 people) donated $1500 out of their own pockets, for example.
My thanks to the staff at WCHS/WVAH TV and the Union Mission for organizing the donation drive and many thanks to the staff from the newsroom who came out at 7:15 am this morning to let us drop off the supplies on the way to school. It meant a lot to the girls to see where their donations were going.
I’ve learned from this experience, too. I know if it hadn’t been for their insistence, I probably would have put it off and put it off and never gotten around to donating anything myself. Instead of trying to raise empathetic children, I need to remember to take a breath from my own schedule and remember others.