I have two resolutions this year. I will tell you about one now and one later this week.*
My first one, the more important one, is to do more. There is something that having a child has done to me that I wouldn’t have expected. It has made me appreciate what we have more and made me realize how much others struggle.
Naturally, Thanksgiving and Christmas emphasized these feelings. Everywhere I turned, someone was collecting toys and food and money for children and families in need. And the thought that a child would wake up on Christmas morning to nothing … to no toys, no stocking, no clean clothes, no food … it makes it hard for me to breathe.
I tried to do my part. I bought a lot of toys. I made a variety of donations to a variety of places. But there is still a big part of me that feels like it’s not enough. That when you boil it down, it’s unfair that Ryan has more toys than we have room for and endless healthy, organic food to snack on. He has so much simply for one reason: because he was born into our family.
I’m not saying we’re rich. We’re as middle class as you get. But let’s be real – being middle class in America is equivalent to an immense wealth that many people in many countries across the world could never even fathom. Being middle class means we have a home that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer and we have insurance so that we can go to the doctor any time we need to. Being middle class really just means we can’t be extravagant, we make sure to live within our means, that maybe we can’t take the kind of vacations we’d like every year. That’s nothing compared to watching your child cry from hunger and being helpless. It’s nothing compared to worrying how you will treat your cancer because you don’t have health insurance or gobs of money.
I could go on and on.**
I’ve never been one to do a ton of volunteer work. Sure, I volunteer at an event here and there, but no major long-term commitments. The older I get, the busier I become, and the easier it is to blow it off. But that’s unacceptable. I have many blessings in my life; I can carve out time once a month to help others who have less. I can and I will.
So I signed up for a couple of things. I’m now serving on the governing board of a charter high school in my neighborhood. This school offers an alternative schedule to students who don’t fit into a traditional setting, whether it be because they’re teen parents or on their own and working full-time jobs. The school is small, but it makes a big difference for these kids.
And secondly, I’m doing the Climb to Conquer Cancer hike in Phoenix in February. It’s an American Cancer Society event that raises money to help fight cancer.
You might not know that I’m a hiker. It’s true!*** I once raised $3,000 and hiked 13 miles in the Grand Canyon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (The proof is here in my first-ever blogging endeavor with my friend Kelly.)
My goal is much more manageable this time – just $250. But hey, it helps, and it’s a way to get out of the house and show my support for something important, for those who are struggling more than I am.
(I have no shame — if your resolution is to donate more, please consider supporting me on the hike. I’ll risk the cliche: Even $5 makes a difference.)
I think I’m off to a good start. Two good deeds down for 2012; ten to go. Do you volunteer? If so, throw some more ideas my way!
Update! I surpassed my $250 goal! So, like any good little fundraiser… I upped it to $400. Heh.
***Or maybe I used to be a hiker before I had a kid and discovered that baby + heat + dust = disaster.
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