My kids are a bit self centered. They tend to be a bit self absorbed and often do not think about others first. Well all right they are teens some of this is normal but just to be safe, enter community service.
Tonight our church helped serve dinner at a center for individuals with HIV/AIDS and or homeless. We do this every month with the other parishes in our area as part of outreach program. The meals are prepped by some congregants and then other members serve the food. At some point each server eats with the visitors and gets to know them better. Remember how everyone on my church equates me with the kitchen? Well yeah we were signed up and the kids were voluntold (military term for you are volunteering no choice)
I pick the kids up early and herd them into the van. They were instructed to keep their big ole mouths shut and to say not a darn thing if it was not nice. They were reminded that not everyone has everything they have so no rude comments about clothes, appearance, smell etc. I repeated many times, this could be you at any given point in life. You could be without the essentials, you could be homeless, you could be anyone of the people we are serving tonight. I reiterated our church members would be there so think about the impression they would make.
We get there and the kids are assigned to desserts. I am assigned to serving lasagne. I join the line and chat amicably with other church members at first then with people partaking in the meal. The kids were mostly good, well all right M2 started to fuss but when I remind her it was cold and wet outside she got her head back on right. Each kid in turn took a plate and went and sat with the people gathered. They sat close to the rector of our church and the youth director but they did sit and converse with people.
Several people noticed their hard work and asked who they were and who were they with. I did my best not to brag that “they are MY daughters” and let them bask in the compliments themselves. They helped clean up after the meal was over and put things away. Our rector thanked each of them as we went out the door.
In the van M1 remarked how hurtful some people were and judgemental they were. I choked back a laugh I mean really, YOU are complaining about this? You are the queen of trash talk. She acknowledged freely that it would hurt others and how she felt bad for the recipients. No she did not transfer that it had the same effect when she did it to others but all right baby steps. M2 told me she was sad that some people don’t have enough money or food but asked if we did the right thing to feed them and I said yes. N was sort of quiet, I don’t expect much from her though it is so new. She did say she enjoyed serving and asked when we go again.
All in all they did great and I was so relieved. We are definitely signing up again as they all requested it. I did enjoy the adult time honestly and they learned indirectly so a win win for sure.