The Importance of Focusing on Others

Do you remember when you were growing up that you didn't always like to eat the vegetables on your plate? Or you didn't pay attention to how long of a shower you were taking? Or you complained that your water didn't have any ice in it?

My husband and I feel very strongly that our daughter has a quality of life far higher than many children of the world. She eats an all organic diet (not really by choice because of her allergies, but still), has a ridiculously huge bedroom decked out in pink with decorations she got to choose, a private bathroom, far too many toys and games, lives in a resort-like community, gets to travel quite a bit, plays constantly, and was allowed to choose to stay in school or homeschool. Her life is pretty gosh darn good.

So, sometimes, my husband and I are a little short with her when she throws a fit that her water doesn't have ice in it. And sometimes, it rubs us the wrong way when she takes forEVER in the shower. And occasionally, I just snap back that the children in the Appalachians are starving with no paper to write on!!!!!

Well, I had to do something about my own frustration because, really, how can she "get" that the World isn't like her world?

About a month ago, she started volunteering at a local community thrift store. I've been shopping there for about 6 months, and I've found FABULOUS finds! In fact, without this store, we'd be hard-up to homeschool: I've found teacher supply games there, electronic pencil sharpeners, enclosed clipboards, bulletin board, lamps, etc.

We've talked a lot with her about how the store works: all the money it makes goes to people who can't afford medical bills, or school supplies, or clothes. So, when she's doing her volunteer work, she takes a lot of pride in making sure that the items look nice so that they sell fast so that money can be given away. Of course, she doesn't fully get it, but she mostly gets it. And she's proud of helping others!

It's a good reminder that it's worth the time to help others, in a way more than writing a check. It's good to have kids help others who live lives unimaginable to themselves. Really, someone can't buy clothes? Yes. Really. And we can make the time to go and do something to help those people.

Maybe, instead of worrying so much about how to make ourselves happy, we should be worrying about how to make others happy....and who knows, maybe we'll feel a little better afterwards, too.

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