I love this idea that we do service on Martin Luther King Day and try to make the world a better place so I've been online trying to find a volunteer opportunity that I would like. There are so many things I would be happy to do--and so many things I would hate and dread doing. I think the United Way of Utah County has a pretty good website for finding volunteer opportunities. We did our Sub for Santa this year through them and it was a really great experience for everyone in our family except Christian who was GONE MOST OF DECEMBER AND WILL NEVER BE FORGIVEN.
Sub for Santa is the perfect thing for me because I love getting presents for people. Do I want to carol at an old folks' home? No. I hate that kind of thing. But I'm not a complete jerk. We got a family with 4 kids close to my kids' ages who only lived a few blocks away from us. Maggie, especially, got into the shopping and kept a list of the kids' sizes and favorite colors. We delivered the booty a few days before Christmas. It was super exciting and may I say that our Sub for Santa family totally schooled us in graciousness. They had a modest gift for us and a very eloquent card which we will save for a long time. Talk about a class act.
So in the spirit of MLK I've been searching for something I could do to make the world a little rosier. Tutoring the functionally illiterate? No thanks. I barely read to my kids. Babysitting for morning Zumba classes at Centro Hispano? Don't make me laugh! I need a babysitter so I can work out. And so on and so on--I'm not Mother Theresa over here. But there were a few opportunities that piqued my interest. One is sack lunches. We've made sack lunches for the homeless shelter as a family before and I love it. It's a totally easy family activity (FHE, I'm looking right at you) and the people at the Food and Care Coalition are really nice and appreciative. This is a good one if you have kids in car seats because you can pull right up to deliver the lunches, feel like a hero, and you never have to unload the kids. You don't have to serve the lunches--just make them. That's all they want. Easy. I've got some pretty ambitious plans for Family Home Evening this year. Actually, it's the first time I've had a plan so that is, in itself, very ambitious. I decided to have a schedule for the types of lessons we do:
Week 1: Read a page or so from Etiquette.
I love this book and there's a chapter on what kids need to know. I don't have the most fancy of manners, but I did learn decent manners from my mom and it was a very useful tool for me because I was extremely shy and not intuitive about interacting with people. Knowing manners gave me a basic structure of how to act when I had dinner at my friends' houses or something like that. My kids definitely need this knowledge. This is the kind of FHE lesson that requires no preparation. We just read the page and practice it. "I spoon my soup away from me like tiny ships going out to sea."
Week 2: Read a lesson from the Primary Nursery Manual. This was suggested to us in our ward a few years ago--even if you have kids older than nursery age (which I do) because it's a good resource for basic principles. The lessons are easy so you don't have to really prepare. The lessons cover important topics such as being prepared.
Week 3: This week everyone will bring out their Faith in God, Duty to God, scouting, and whatever else they are working on. It's kind of hard keeping up on all this stuff, frankly. But it's definitely a good thing for kids. I'm pretty sure Ben would never spontaneously discuss ways to be more trustworthy if we weren't working on Cub Scouts. I hate Scouts. But Sam is getting really capable now because of it so I also love scouts.
Week 4: An activity. Maybe watching a movie or getting ice cream--you know "fun" things that "families" "do." I figure I can handle/afford this once a month and it will be often enough to make my kids stop telling me about all the "fun" things other "families" "do."
Long story short, whenever there's a 5th Monday I think we'll sign up to do sack lunches.
But the other opportunity that caught my eye is for a program called Welcome Baby. I read through the volunteer opportunity but thought, "Let's not go crazy just because it's Martin Luther King day." But I kept thinking about it and became obsessed with the idea and finally signed up to support new parents. I have to have some training but you can do it online and I know I will totally ace it because I know all about nursing and vaccinations. What I love about this is that I can finally give people unsolicited parenting advice! It' my passion! No one ever asks me about taking care of babies but I've had 4 and I do know how, even though I never want to have another baby ever again. It's like I'll be a nurse without having to know science or bathe sick people. It's how I will usher out my child-bearing years and transition into my pre-empty-nester years. I really can't wait. You get to take them presents (board books) and tell them what to do to take care of their baby. It's right up my alley. I know. It surprised me too. Watch out for me next MLK day--I may try to be your midwife! (Probably I won't, though.)
Get me: I live to serve!
Here's an MLK-inspired project--collecting blankets for birth mothers. I love this idea, even though it is bittersweet. It's from Jack and Jaime--a couple of lurkers on my blog. I love it when couples come out of the closet in my comments.