Teaching Our Children the Importance of Giving Back
Posted by Aimee Stashak-Moore
We are always looking for opportunities to teach our children the importance of giving back, not only giving back to friends and family, but giving back to others in our community, especially to those in need. This sounds easy but, in fact, it's quite difficult to find the right environment to bring them to, especially at ages five and six. Fortunately, our boys have been exposed to concept of tzedakah, acts of charity, since they were young, starting in preschool at the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore (JCCNS) and now at Cohen Hillel Academy.
After hearing about JF&CS Family Table through another family at my sons’ school, I eagerly signed myself and the two boys up to volunteer to help stock the pantry. The boys sorted food and stocked the tables. Not only did this give them an unbelievable sense of accomplishment, it was a chance for my eldest to help his brother with his counting skills, a win-win for all!
We gradually added onto our responsibilities by volunteering to not only set-up and pack bags full of groceries but to also help with the delivery of the food items. Our first day of delivery will forever resonate with me.
It started out just like every food distribution day. We got to Temple Sinai in Marblehead early enough to stock the shelves. We were responsible for sorting two particular food tables into "Kosher" and "non-Kosher certified" items. My eldest took his job very seriously and meticulously went through each item to make sure he put them in the right spot. My youngest was given the job of bagging Shabbat candles, which again helped him with his counting skills!
After the pantry was set up, we grabbed our shopping lists and zigzagged our way through the room, making sure to adhere to the dietary wants/needs of each person’s shopping list as best we could. We got the bags in the car and off we went. I felt a little bit of apprehension from my oldest during the drive as he wasn't quite sure how this was all going to go down. We got to our first stop, and together we carried the bags to the front door. He rang the bell and, again, I could sense his apprehension. Once the door opened, my son proudly announced that he "…was here to make your delivery." After the typical pleasantries, we left to make our second and final delivery.
It was here that a proud parent moment totally rocked my world. We made our way to the second home with bags in hand. This time, I could feel a noticeable change in my son and the apprehension was all but gone. He rang the bell and again confidently stated he "was here to make your delivery." The door opened and we were graciously invited in. We stepped into the kitchen, placed the bags onto the table, and spoke with this client about our mutual love of hamantashen. We eventually made our way back to the front door to say our goodbyes and when we turned around the client was in tears and started profusely thanking my son for the kind work he was doing. I could see he was taken back by this but didn't really react at that very moment. After making our way back to the car, I looked at him and he was teary-eyed. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "Thank you, Mom, for allowing me to do good things for people who are not as lucky as we are."
**Mic Drop - SILENCE**
I have never felt prouder of anything in my life. This was my six year old, MY six year old! It is because of this experience that we will continue to support our community through JF&CS Family Table.
With a passion for all things old, vintage, and eclectic, Aimee Stashak-Moore is the Director of Operations for a boutique auction house in Boston, MA. She lives in Lynn with her husband, her two sons, and an endlessly shedding pug, Jack Tar.