“Can I have one of my super vitamins?” My daughter asked me before we left to start our busy morning.
“Sure baby,” I held them out, urging her to choose quickly. We had an important task ahead of us.
MIGHTY Immunity, HAPPY Tummy, SUPER Brainy, GROWING Bones. She weighed her options.
“I pick SUPER, so I can be super smart today!”
“Well I think you’re pretty smart every day,” I told her as I tossed her a red vitamin and handed her brother a HAPPY, secretly hoping it would channel that emotion in him before we headed out to our first volunteering job together. We’ve done other little projects here and there: Cleaning at church, picking up trash, collecting donations. But nothing quite like this.
As we walked into the Partnership for Children warehouse full of donated clothes, bikes, toys and baby items, I had no idea how my kids would react. The thing is, we weren’t there to play.
Today the task at hand was to unpack donated boxes of formula, date and sort them onto different shelves.
This was our first official job volunteering as a family.—Well, almost a complete family. Daddy had to work, but the three of us we were still up to the task. At least that’s what I told myself as we listened to instructions beside other parents and children who had joined in to help.
My son and daughter were definitely the youngest two kids there, but the volunteer coordinator didn’t turn us away when I asked if we could help.
Lil’ J listened carefully as the coordinator gave us instructions and she eagerly got started cutting the boxes open and sorting formula cans by size and color as I dated them.
Bit T, a little overwhelmed at first, fell into the job of smashing of the boxes and throwing them into the trash. Of course this lasted about five minutes until he saw some toys he wanted to play with and had a meltdown when I said no.
I tried to ignore his tantrum while I worked with my daughter. We talked about what we were doing, how the formula would help babies and families who needed it. I could see her pride and determination swell as she continued her task.
Eventually we found a small opened toy her brother could hold while he continued to transport trash and after a while he was even excited to help sort formula containers.
When we finished that job the other group filed out and I asked Lil’ J if she wanted to stay a little longer and help with something else, or if she was ready to go.
She thought for a brief moment then said, “I can help with something else!”
We spent the next half out labeling and placing donated stuffed animals in a bin. We’d tag them, I’d tally them, and she’d run them to their designated basket. Big T took an extended snack break and would occasionally help put an animal away.
After empting three hefty bags full we looked at our job well done. Lil’ J beamed with satisfaction and I praised her and her brother for their hard work and choosing to serve others she doesn’t even know.
“How do you feel?” I asked her later as we told daddy about our day.
“SUPER!” she shouted.
I smiled back at our little superhero in the making.
We all make hundreds, if not thousands of choices every day. –Some of them are easier than others. From choosing what vitamins we take in the morning, to what clothes we’re going to wear, what we’ll say to our friends or how we’ll help others.
I’m hoping this is just the beginning of our tradition of choosing to serve others together as a family.
I love giving my children more opportunities to make good healthy choices, which is why I partnered with Olly on this essay. Their new kid-friendly chews are vitamins I love and my kids adore. Thanks for supporting brands that support this blog. All opinions are my own.