I recall when we visited Waitrose on one occasion and our local food bank volunteers were there making an in person collection. I asked Brown Bear to take the list of required items and to read me and Blue Bear all the things on the list so we could put them in the trolley. We filled it up and also bought some cereal and milk that we had come to buy for ourselves. As we left the store I asked the boys to help load up the items for the food bank volunteers. They were so appreciative and thanked the boys who beamed and smiled at the gratitude. As we drove home they couldn't stop talking about how great it felt to give food to people who didn't have enough.
At the end of the last school year the boys went through their old shoes and we picked the ones that were in good condition, but no longer worn. We gave them to a charity that takes shoes overseas to children who need them. I explained that there are children who just don't have any shoes and we have so many that once we've used them and they don't fit any more they are still good enough for someone else who has none. They really took that on board and it seemed to give Brown Bear an appreciation of how different some children's lives are from his. He now asks if his shoes are going to be good enough for someone else to have once he outgrows them.
In January Hubbie and I are going to do a fundraising walk to raise funds for Help for Heroes. It's 20km and it's the first fundraiser we've done together since the Nuns Run we did for Barnardo's. At the time we didn't appreciate how wearing a synthetic habit and wimple would be extremely uncomfortable on a summer day. I'm hoping that this challenge being a 'winter walk' makes it a little less - well shall we say anti-social ? The boys are used to seeing us take part in charitable endeavours and also understand that we give to others as we are so fortunate ourselves.
This evening Brown Bear was sitting on his bed counting out the change in his Big Ben piggy bank. He worked out it was around £4 and I said I had another tin of change somewhere so we went through that one as well. He took great care to sort the coins into piles of different denominations and we made a note of the totals. In the end it came to just under £14. I said, "that is a lot more than you expected isn't it ?" He smiled and nodded. "Are you sure you want to give all of it ? Are you sure you don't want to keep some of it ?" There was no hesitation at all. "I want to give all of it to Romania. We have £14 and they don't."
On days when this parenting thing seems to be impossibly difficult and thankless I'm going to remind myself of how thoughful and selfless my son can be. I must be doing something right.