In the past I have gotten involved in various ways (Secret Santas, walkathons, fundraisers, Relay for Life, literacy tutor), but at times it has been sporadic and there have been long stretches (especially during times of illness or stress) where I found it easier to write a check for a cause as apposed to doing.

But with parenthood comes hopes and dreams for a childs future and subsequently a lot of self examination. We all have ideas about the type of person we want our kids to become, and as I look at my daughter and consider my hopes for her future character, I know the best way to convey those traits is to emulate them myself. Which leads me to…getting involved.

There are a number of avenues that come to mind that I want to pursue – some now and some later when Little M is a bit older and can take part. But two that have been nagging at me of late are Relay for Life, and becoming more involved in supporting our troops.

Relay for Life is particularly near and dear to me because of the devastating affect that cancer has had – especially in the last ten years or so – on my family and friends. It seems almost epidemic. I participated on a team long distance a few years ago and had a blast, but this year I’d like to form a team locally so that I can be more involved in fundraising. Now that vacation is over, this will be my next major project to tackle.

Supporting our troops is a no-brainer, and doubly so because of the large number of family members that have served. I have been looking at and am interested in a number of their programs. I’ve decided to start with their letter writing program – because showing our gratitude is one of the single most important ways we can show our support. Then I’d like to join one of their sewing project teams.

Yesterday I talked about how vacation had inspired me to edit – by addition or subtraction – my life so that it is more in line with with what I value and want out of life. Getting more involved in the community and world around me is one way of adding to my life things that are important to me. It also gives me a prime opportunity to demonstrate to my daughter my values and to help her see beyond herself.

If you have children (or even if you don’t), I would love to hear from you about how you incorporate community service into your lives. What do you do? How do/did you get your children involved? What has been their reaction to it? What have you/they learned from the experience?