Last Thursday was a new kind of field trip for our family.
I had read a book given to me by a friend, Bent Hope. It's written by a guy who works with the homeless in Toronto, each chapter a story of his interaction with the people he works with. Some are poignant, some heart-rending, all eye-opening. Simple things he said made me think about how blessed we are to have a roof over our heads, a meal when we want it, safety, a loving family. It's something we have hoped to instill in our children, and when our church was looking for donations for a meal organized by Ottawa Innercity Ministries, we saw a chance to help out.
So, taking the food donated by our church, futsaldreamer and I headed downtown with my three girls. We helped set up the tables, then served the men and women who arrived for the meal. I was wondering how the girls would respond, how the event would unfold. They would be seeing and talking to people we don't really encounter out here in the rural areas, people young and old, and not necessarily the 'pretty' people of society.
They loved it.
All three cheerfully served food, chatted with people, then looked for more ways to help the meal to go well and make sure that everyone they encountered had a good time. A and M were at one point circling the tables with plates of food searching for someone who might have finished and be wanting seconds, like circling sharks (but much cuter and more helpful). After the meal M was helping to hand out socks, gloves and blankets.
It was heartwarming as their mom to watch them cross barriers I have rarely crossed myself. It was a good learning experience for all of us. We came home with a newfound appreciation for our own little drafty house, and plans to help at the next dinner.
Now if I could only get that same cheerful service when I ask for them to clean their rooms ...