My mother always taught me it's better to give than to receive. I'm sure your mom taught you that one as well. But just how much of yourself have you given this week? I hear a loud chorus of laughter among all the moms out there, because we all know that seems to be all we do.. give, give, give! We give our hearts, souls, and every last penny to our families. We give our time when we load the laundry, pack the lunches, and get the family ready for church on Sundays. We give up that extra couple hours of free time or sleep to cheer on our kids at the baseball field. Moms have the giving part down.
But then, I wonder, how well are we teaching our children to give?
Today on Moms Everyday, I watched a segment interviewing Dave Johnson with our local Rotary. He was talking about opportunities for parents to volunteer in our communities. Dave should know. He volunteers countless hours himself for our local Miracle League, dedicated to helping handicapped children get the experience of playing ball. It made me remember a fabulous night at the ball field last spring.
My husband leads a local youth baseball travel ball team. He works with those talented little boys, shaping them into fabulous ball players. The experience teaches them about teamwork, dedication, commitment, and challenges. It's about so much more than winning a game. Perhaps the greatest lesson he gave our boys last year was when he offered to get our team involved with volunteerism, in exchange for practice time on the city baseball fields. He lined up a night for our kids to shadow the players on the Miracle League. What a night that was.
My sons and the other players didn't understand what the Miracle League was all about. That night, they learned so much. The boys were a little intimidated at first, they didn't understand why some of the handicapped children look, sound, and act differently. My 9-year-old son was paired up with a lovely little girl with Down's Syndrome. He had no idea what Down's Syndrome was, he just knew that this special little girl didn't respond the same way other children respond. I told him, "It's okay, just go out there, have some fun, and help her get the ball in play.. but let her do it!" I was shocked. Our boys, who were at first apprehensive, were totally into the experience as soon as that game got started. I watched a 7-year-old slugger push a little boy his age around the bases in a wheelchair. I watched an 8-year-old shortstop, used to diving catches, catch a high-five from a mentally challenged teenager. I watched all the boys whoop for joy when a handicapped young man, lead by his beaming dad, hit an honest-to-goodness home run!
By the end of the game, we all forgot why we were there. We forgot it was because these kids were different, because that night, they were all the same. They were all just kids at the ballpark having a good time. I talked a lot with my boys about the challenges these children face, and my son just looked confused. I asked what he was thinking about, and he told me, "I don't really see the big deal, mom. They're just kids like the rest of us." Perhaps the parents were the big winners of the night. We learned that children are better able to focus on our similarities and forget about our differences.
Thanks Dave, for coming on Moms Everyday and promoting volunteerism today. And thanks to my husband and the other coaches out there, who work hard, as volunteers, to teach our children what means to be a team player in the game of life. I hope everyone finds the time in their busy lives to give a little to their community. By giving of ourselves, and getting our kids involved too, we may find truth in that old lesson: It really is better to give, than to receive.