Of all the things we do in our homeschool, nothing is harder to schedule than service. We visited a nursing home once. We attended a fundraiser for Sevier County Food Ministries. We sorted through toys and clothes and donated them to a Thrift Store nearby, for kids who could use them. Other than that, I am clueless.
After a column I wrote for The Mountain Press about my Halloween dilemma, i.e. about not knowing how to avoid observing this obviously occultish holiday, one of my readers emailed me about an event at Brookdale Assisted Living in Sevierville, on October 29th. Children can come dressed up in different costumes, they get candy, and the residents get visitors. It’s a win-win. There will be snacks, too.
So after several weeks of praying and looking around for alternatives to trick-or-treating, I think I may have stumbled upon something here: an opportunity for service. Children put a smile on the faces of most assisted living residents. We will put our violins in the car to take along, as well as our sheet music. Surely, there’s a piano in that place. And we will make some music for the residents, besides showing up to cheer them up.
I have called them up and they were thrilled we offered to come just to trick-or-treat. The music may or may not happen this time, as it depends on the number of people they will have coming through. But they are totally open to our coming over there to visit any other time, and share our music, smiles, and presence with the residents.
It just so happened that I watched an emotional video on Facebook too, about this preschool which was planted inside a nursing home. The elderly were in tears as they interacted with the kids. They held hands. An elderly lady straightened the hair on a preschooler. The kids loved interacting with people the age of their grandparents. Again, a win-win situation.
We look forward to being more involved in an assisted living facility in the future, visiting with the elderly.
It is rather hard to involve small children in service opportunities. They can’t really clean a house or a yard without supervision. They hinder more than they help. It’s one thing having them trotting around the house with a duster. It’s another thing having them dust in the house of an elderly lady with lots of ceramic items on shelves. But they can smile, shake hands, and play their instruments in a nursing home.
If you have any ideas for service projects, I would appreciate them. I would like to spend more time in service with my kids.