I recently brought my 7-year old son, Ben, with me to work for a day. We talk about my work at Ronald McDonald House often and he’s made several quick visits to the House, but I don’t think he fully grasped what RMH is all about. We did a little of this and a little of that. We did laundry, broke down boxes, unloaded dishwashers, swept the floor and made some treats for the families. As we worked, I tried to explain why families have to stay at the House and how the things we were doing could be helpful for them. As we worked on a few of the chores I asked him to imagine that he had a really bad or sad day at school, but then he came home and found that someone had cleaned his room and put away all of his toys for him. His face lit up and he smiled real big. Having a bad day at school isn’t the same as having a sick child or being a sick child, but I think for the first time he really started to understand how his helpfulness could impact others. He absolutely understand how he would feel if someone unexpectedly cleaned his room for him, and he seemed glad to be doing something that might make someone else feel happy as well.
As a mom, one thing that’s particularly important to me is teaching my kids to have a thankful heart. I want them to be able to focus on their blessings instead of their troubles, to be content with what they have instead of always wishing for something better. I want them to be grateful. I also want them to be kind, and I hope they will always value the importance of helping others. Having the chance to volunteer together at Ronald McDonald House was a great way to teach Ben by example and I’m thankful we had the chance to share this experience together.