This will be a different sort of weekend for our family. This morning, Rob leaves at 8 am on a social justice trip with our UU church youth group. They will be travelling to another state where they will live and work with people who are struggling with poverty and housing permanence. They will do maintenance on the property during the daytime and play with the kids who are sheltered there in the evenings. A similar trip took them to Maine last year. This year they are farther afield in Maryland. I think it is really important that at an early age we teach our kids to give compassionately to others. I don't look at these trips as a way to remind them "see what you have." For the most part I think they all ready get that. I am pretty up front about how hard I have to save to make things happen, though I have always imparted this in a way that does not sound like we are going to be hungry and homeless, as those are not likely outcomes. But generosity is I think a learned behavior. If you think about it, we have to teach our kids how to share their toys at the playground. This is the playground of real life and for me the lesson is that you can share of your resources (time, money whatever) with people you do not even know. That it is not only okay to step out of the neighborhood, it is necessary.
Rob has a clear grasp of this and and though I know the fun is a big part of these trips, he also has a generous spirit and gives willingly of himself in all situations. The other good thing is that the younger kids are growing up seeing him model this,which makes things easier for me. LOL I always think the house is overly quiet and empty when Rob is gone. It reminds me that he is all ready 16 and stretching his wings, readying himself for a future that I will watch and visit, but not be an active participant in.