The Work of Many Hands

Recently, some students and I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a very appreciative group.

I’m not a classroom teacher or a chef, just a mom volunteering with some kids who decided they wanted to do a community service project. They chose to make peanut butter (creamy) and jelly (grape) sandwiches (white bread) for homeless men and women at a nearby shelter.

With eight 11 year old boys, I was prepared for disaster but they proved me wrong. Although there was a lot of banter about what they were “gonna” do, they couldn’t have been more respectful of the project.

It reminded me that one of the great things about community service is how it encourages us to grow to meet a need. Doing something for others often inspires us to do things we really didn’t believe we could achieve.

Recently, I heard about a young man who, at 9 years of age, decided not to cut his hair for a year. At the end of the year, he participated in a group head-shaving ceremony to show solidarity with children who have cancer.

When the Haitian earthquake struck, and then the Chilean earthquake, a lot of parents wondered if they should talk to their child about the disasters. There’s always the concern that it will make the child feel fearful or unsafe. But in most cases, the opposite happens and a truly wonderful emotion grows instead: compassion.

Many, many children have not only participated in community service projects, they’ve instigated them. It’s one of those instances when children really lead adults in the right direction.

So here’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to all of you children who are doing so much to help others.

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