With two working parents (one who travels a lot), kids in school, sports, and before-school clubs, I knew that increasing our time volunteering in the midst of IRONMAN training would be a bit of a stretch. Our weekends contain about 6 hours of training right now (which will only increase until our race) and weekdays are pretty packed too, starting at 4:30am and full of activity until around 8:30pm.
So, my search for activities that fit into our "free" time, had left me a little discouraged. However, Mother Teresa's quote reminds me that it's not about planning the full day activities or anything too grand, but instead, it's about taking advantage of the "small" opportunities we have.
We got to enjoy one of those opportunities today as we visited a senior/nursing residential facility near us. The volunteer coordinator was extremely flexible and gracious, allowing us to come at any time that was convenient for us and to stay as long as we wanted. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about it given that small talk isn't a strength of mine. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect and I knew I had to be a good model for the kids even no matter how uncomfortable I was. Our brief time there was full of pleasant surprises. The staff and residents were so welcoming. We had fun conversations that led to the ultimate surprise...Megan didn't want to leave when we had to go.
I'm also so thankful to have Doing Good Together as a resource we're set up with some wonderful ideas for other "small" opportunities we can utilize to build and reinforce kindness habits in our family. Their blog post 4 Elements of a Kindness Practice has very accessible ideas. As their blogger states, their "tools and resources are designed to help you launch a kindness practice with your family. Not all at once. Not in an overwhelming way. Rather, meaningful acts of kindness can and will become an essential part of your family’s routine one habit at a time." I think we might do their Helping Habits worksheet soon.
I look forward to finding more small ways to show great love as a family.