Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Giving Back

I am reading (or skimming, really) Debbie Tenzer's book, Do One Nice Thing. If you're looking for a way to give of yourself, I highly recommend this book or her website.

One suggestion she makes in the book is to teach children empathy by having them help with the elderly in the neighborhood.


It took me right back to my early years in Lyndonville, NY. I had a very simple upbringing in the one mile square village. Part of that was the small town atmosphere, but equally was the way my parents infused the very concept about children helping.

Next door to us, Mrs. Smith lived in a small, rather ramshackle house. She was in her 80's and lived on only her Social Security check. She also had no phone. (Can you even imagine it?????)

My parents become her lifeline. Every Sunday they fixed a plate of Sunday dinner to take to her. (She for some reason didn't want to come to our house to eat.) They also made sure her lawn was mowed and went to the post office to get her mail. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessin' that they probably went to the grocery store too.

My dad loved to garden (the acorn has not fallen far from the tree!) and Mrs. Smith allowed him to plow her property behind her big old barn as an addition to his garden. Of course, during the growing season, she received all kinds of fresh fruit and veggies.

Mom encouraged me to spend time visiting Mrs. Smith and I can remember sitting on her from porch reading and talking about Aesop's Fables and Grimm's Fairy Tales. Mrs. Smith related that she had never read them because her mother wouldn't allow it.

In networking we constantly talk about mutually beneficial relationships. My parents demonstrated that very early in my life. Everyone gained including me. I learned how important all people were in my life.

Thanks, Mom, Dad and Mrs. Smith!

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