We have really tried to keep up with our family theme of service this year. I am realizing more and more that you have to plan for it and schedule it in your week. Even if you don't know what service you are going to do yet, it is important to block out the time because the service will open up. There are opportunities literally EVERYWHERE.
We had a young man speak in church a few weeks ago before leaving on his mission. This young man is one of those kids you can't help but fall in love with. So naturally happy and good. Matt hired him and his brother to work at our house last summer on little projects he needed done. Matt could have done them himself, but he really wanted these amazing brothers to rub off on our boys. Sam was to work with one, and Brandon with the other. My kids had to report to them and turn in their hours to them. I love that Matt thinks outside the box. I of course was wondering why we were going to spend the money on that when Matt could just do it. But, Matt with that cute little look he has, said, "Having our boys be around these young men is priceless." Good role models are so important in life. Our kids will learn from us, but they need others to mentor them as well.
Anyway, in his farewell speech he said, "I don't know that I would have been able to stay so true to my faith, had the happiness I enjoyed, or made it on my mission unless I had done as much service as I did."
When he said that sirens went off in my mind. Something just clicked. That was it. Service. Service. Service. That is what made him this incredible kid--happy, selfless, fun, energetic, positive, optimistic, friendly, and faithful. I immediately knew what I was going to do.
I needed to help Samuel start a service club with his buddies. I came home and emailed all his friends' mothers to see if this is something they wanted to be a part of. Every single one of them (except one) not only said yes, but were super excited about it.
Needless to say, the boys grumbled and grumbled about it. Sam did get some flack at school for my brilliant idea. We were going to have a kick off party to discuss names and come up with a motto. 14 Boys and their mothers. I told Sam, "Just give me until friday night. Let me introduce what we are doing and then you can decide if you want to do this or not." He just grunted and walked away.
I thought I would not make it until Friday and almost decided to forget it on Thurs. night because of the torment I was receiving from my son which was coming from the kids at school. Bottom line--moms ecstatic, boys not so excited.
My sweet husband gave me a pep talk, told me to ignore the "background noise" as he calls it, and reminded me that there is always opposition when you are trying to do something good. So I took his advice and prepared for Friday night.
I went online and found some stories on you tube about youth that had made a difference. We showed them on a projector and talked a little bit about what and why we wanted to do this. They saw that they could really make a difference in somebody's life. I asked who was in--I explained very carefully that if they wanted to do this, there would be no more complaining. They were in or they were out. I told them that this would be something that would bond them together for a very long time. (I also as a mother knew that if these boys were regularly doing good things together, they were less likely to compromise their standards together.) We also talked about how this was something for THEM to plan. The moms were not going to plan it and have the boys just show up. They needed to take ownership of it. They needed to come up with the ideas and make the phone calls, set up appointments, figure out rides etc. They all said they wanted to do it --it was half hearted, so I made them give me a real shout, full of conviction one more time. It was great.
After brain storming the boys decided on Sons of Service for the name so they could use the acronym S.O.S. and the motto is "SERVE NOW, PLAY LATER."--which I just LOVE. We are getting T-shirts made for the boys and little necklaces for the moms. The idea is that 2 boys and their mothers will take a month and be in charge of the service activity for that month. That way, most everyone could have a chance twice a year to plan it.
I am so excited. I also feel SO incredibly blessed to be surrounded by other mothers with such great vision.
I found this great quote "By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction, the die is cast and the moment has long since passed which determined the future." -Zelda Fitzgerald
Love that. So, that is why I am starting now. Sam called a local group here that is involved with Down Syndrome children. He wanted to do an activity with them. They told him they had an Easter Egg Hunt coming up that they needed help with. BAM! It was that easy. So, all the boys are going to fill 500 Easter Eggs, hide them, and help the kids find them. They are also going to have bunnies there for the kids to play with and we are going to plan a little activity. They boys were all excited about helping with this event.
I know this group of amazing kids, all from different faiths and backgrounds, will look back at these experiences with a happy heart. It will mold them into people who are outward looking. Can hardly wait to check in in four and a half years and see if they were glad we ignored all the grumbling....