Our back to school shopping list includes the usuals, new school supplies – folders, pencils, glue sticks, headphones and the like – and of course new shoes and a few on-trend outfits for the ever so popular “first day” of school picture with a Pinterest approved sign announcing what grade they’ll be entering. Judging by my Facebook feed, I know many of you are guilty of this as well!
You see, my daughters are very fortunate to have parents who are able to provide them with these “extras.” I constantly try to remind them of this fact. I remind them of how lucky they are. I despise entitlement and I’m constantly teaching my children to be kind, to have compassion, and to respect others, no matter how different they may be. Baby, be thankful for what you have. Make sure to be kind to others, even if they may seem different, you never know what other children are experiencing in their lives. Be compassionate, be generous and show the world your smile as often as you can.
I remind my children regularly how lucky they are for their many blessings – a large, loving circle of family and friends, shoes on their feet, clothes on their backs, full tummies and warm, cozy beds to sleep in each night. And not to mention the many other “extras” such as a plentiful wardrobe, a playroom overflowing with all the toys and crafts they could want, and a full schedule of organized sports and social activities. I know there are many other children who are as blessed as mine, but I also know that there are just as many children who don’t have these same “luxuries” and life experiences.
My daughters are only 6 and 3 so they are still quite young, but I still work really hard on a daily basis to ensure they are compassionate and accepting of people from all walks of life. I want them to embrace others with warmth and to never feel entitled or better than anyone in this world. I want them to be brave enough to be “includers” and to talk to the children who are being left out. I start each and every day with a grateful heart and I instill this in my daughters as well. Gratitude turns what we have into enough and when we have enough we can give freely.
Recently I read an amazing blog post, Before School Conversation, published by New York Times bestselling author, Glennon Doyle. I will be sharing Glennon’s story with my children this week as they begin a new school year, and I encourage all of you parents reading this to do the same.
The original post date was 2011, but the words and the message are powerfully timeless and really struck a chord with me. The blog post brought me to tears and inspired me to want to do something this fall to help deserving children in need.
After reading Glennon’s blog post, as I tucked my children into their beautiful, plush beds and wished them sweet dreams, I couldn’t help but feel heartache for the parents out there who aren’t able to provide their children with a bed to sleep in each night. A place to dream.
I think about the many moms and dads who love their children just as much as I love mine, but may be going through hard times and struggling to make ends meet. I think about the many single parents working multiple jobs, earning minimum wage, to try and provide the basic’s for their deserving children, but may be falling short.
I’m confident their back to school shopping list is a little different than mine. Through my work with Deserving Décor, I also know that thousands of children in the Greater Philadelphia area alone don’t have a bed to call their own. Many of them sleep on the floor, on makeshift beds (sofas, air mattresses, etc.), or with their parents. Uncomfortable sleeping arrangements like these often cause poor sleep, which inhibits a child’s ability to fully thrive.
As we start off the 2017 school year, I encourage all of you to join me in making a difference this September by helping us provide a deserving child with a bed of their own. For just $161, Deserving Décor, in partnership with OHAAT, can buy a child or teen a new twin bed, fully equipped with sheets, a blanket, a book, a toothbrush, a stuffed animal and home delivery. We welcome all donations, every little bit helps.
To contribute to our September bed fundraiser, you can donate here or you can send a check, payable to Deserving Decor, to the following address:
PO Box 1055
Doylestown, PA 18901