I was never a great churchgoer. I never listened during the services when I was a kid and usually played hangman with my sister on corner of the service bulletin or sat there daydreaming. I grew up an Lutheran (ELCA) which means I believe in my savior Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins. I know that I’m a sinner but Jesus Christ died on the cross to save me. I confess my sins before I receive the Eucharist and I am forgiven. Faith.
My daughter is in 8th grade and in her 3rd year of preparing for Confirmation. This is when a youth stands up in front of their congregation and professes their faith. Along with her Wednesday night Confirmation classes, she is required to attended a certain number of church services a month as well as Advent services during Christmas. Initially, it was just one more thing to add to our list of things to do but now I have grown to love the routine of going to church because of how it makes me feel. And not that I think I have to go to church to be a faithful follower of Christ, but listening to the scripture lessons, singing hymns, and taking Communion are just a few things that make me feel more like a whole person.
But the more I go, the more I feel something is missing. I’ve totally dropped the altruistic ball and it has landed sharply on my big toe. I don’t talk about religion or my Christian beliefs in my blog but today I am. Why? Because I have to be a better Christian for my kids. I want them to be better people than I have been. It is my job as their parent to show them. I have always used excuses like, I don’t have time and I don’t know where to start but those just don’t cut it anymore. I do have time. There are a million places out there who need my help; I’ve just been too lame to look.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I need to serve others to get into Heaven –I’m sure it’s duly noted– but because it’s the right thing to do. Sure, I donate food to my local Harvesters and drop off clothes at Big Brothers, Big Sisters bin here and there. But that’s not what I’m talking about. That stuff is easy. My kids need to see me doing more.
I just watched this video from Upworthy about a guy named Patrick that noticed a homeless man on his way to work and stepped out of his comfort zone to give him help. I’m talking “teach a man to fish” kind of help, not the “Here’s five dollars, don’t buy drugs with it” kind.
Talk about inspiring! Does this mean I’m going to walk around looking for homeless people and show them how to lift weights or how to eat a balanced diet? However comical that might be, I’m just looking for a way to impact someone’s life for the better.
So, I’m on the search. Since I enjoy helping kids I’m thinking about volunteering with a literacy program somewhere in town. I want to help kids not only to read, but to love it. Reading opens the door to so much opportunity and I want to help prop open that door. I’m also thinking about collecting new and gently used books to take various programs around town who need that type of help. The other day I cleared out one of my kid’s bookshelves and now I have a pile to donate. Even though I love my local library, surely there is a local organization that needs books.
My kids are watching and it’s time to put my faith into action. If I don’t show them the good in the world, how can I expect them to want to make the world a better place as well?
- Do you volunteer your time to help those in need? If so, tell us about it.
- What keeps your faith strong?
- Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone’s charity? If so, tell us about it.
- How do you demonstrate your faith to your kids?
Photo credit: Me. I took this in Boston Public Garden last year while at Muse and the Marketplace. I could’ve spent the whole day there just watching people.