Do any of you make New Year's Resolutions? You know what I mean, right? Like promising to swear off coffee. Or to lose 20lbs by bathing suit season. Or to stop watching reality TV? By the way, those three will never make my top 100 of New Year's Resolutions! Ever!
Personally, I'm just too lazy to try to figure out what I want to put down as my resolution. Rather than set myself up for an inevitable disappointment by not following through I've decided to make a family resolution. Our family is going to do only one resolution together and say that in 2013 we are going to try to do one thing a lot more often ...
1. Do good ... just cuz
Why? Because it just feels good to do good!!
My family got off to a good start last week actually during the Christmas festivities. As I've stated before my parents have 10 grandchildren. We are admittedly a family of breeders. My parents are well aware that their grandkids (ages 3-13) have more than enough toys and techie gadgets so they wanted to get them something more meaningful. My parents are all about giving 'experience' gifts and giving back to others.
So, this year each of the grandchildren were given .... a goat. Yup, they each received a little rubber goat figurine (which they then named). These goats will soon be taken by my parents' friends to Africa where they'll be traded in for real goats and given to a local village. So 10 little goats - Steve, Maple, Phil, Gangnam, Carter, Crosby, Lily, Flubber, Milley and Bucky will soon be flying over to Africa to help children in need and our kids will receive a picture of each of their goats in their new home in Africa. Kinda nice, eh?
Were the kids a little confused that they got a rubber goat from Nanny and Papa? A little (but to be fair, they've never received livestock, rubber or otherwise, before) but they took it in stride. We are not known for being a 'normal' family. "You gave me a goat? Sure, why not!? Thank you and Merry Christmas! Pass the egg nog, please!"
Knowing that the kids were happy about where their goats were headed (but maybe still hoping to open a little 'somethin' somethin'' from their grandparents) they were then each surprised with airfare to visit Nanny and Papa (along with their respective parents, of course) at their condo in Florida sometime this winter! The message my parents gave to the kids was that here in Canada we have A LOT. Others in the world are not so lucky so let's pay it forward before we enjoy even more blessings here. A good message if ever there was one.
Now, there's another way that we gave back this holiday season and I'm a little embarrassed to say that it took us a long time to do it. We needed to 'pass it on'. See, around Easter last year Brad was away so I had taken the kids out for breakfast. We had gone to a local restaurant and were having a quiet meal. When I asked for the cheque the waitress said' Oh, don't worry about it. It's been taken care of." I was ever so confused and thought I was having a blonde moment. Huh? I hadn't paid yet, had I? Me, being ever the sceptic, replied "How?". The waitress leaned in and said "I'm not supposed to say this but the family that used to be sitting over there paid for your bill before they left. They said to have a good weekend and to pass it on."
For the life of me I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that a virtual stranger, a family of strangers at that, looked upon my little family and secretly paid for our meal out of the kindness of their hearts. I was honestly gobsmacked and humbled ... and still a little confused, if I'm being honest. Then I took it for what it was. A true gesture of kindness; done without needing or wanting a thank you.
Since then, I've been meaning to 'pass it on'. Better late than never, right? So, last Thursday we took the kids out for breakfast at different restaurant. Brad and I were enjoying our meals and were in awe of how Boy 1 and Boy 2 inhaled their respective Hungryman breakfast platters with gusto while Missy Moo nibbled at her strawberry waffles. Brad and I were also taking the time to scout out the other patrons. Very cloak and dagger, 007-like. We were cool about it. Who were we going to 'pay it forward' to?
Eventually we spied a grandfather and his two grandsons ordering their breakfast. Once their order was given Brad followed their server (who was also our server) and asked for their bill to be put on ours. Now it was her turn to be confused. "Why, sir? Do you know them?", she asked. "Nope. Just paying it forward". I get warm fuzzies still just thinking about what their expressions were like when they were told someone had paid it forward. :)
So will we do it again? 100% yes! It not only does something nice for other people but it shows our kids that doing something nice gives you warm fuzzies and makes some good family memories too. A little gesture goes a long, long way. From Canada to Africa to the local breakfast spot. And if we can keep the 'pay it forward' going? All the better for everyone.
So have any of you 'paid it forward' before? Do you have any other ways in which you can pay it forward as a family? I'd love some other ideas!