Sometimes it takes a child to remind you about what's important in life. Trevor Sims, an 11-year-old boy from Louisiana, died this past week from a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. He didn't sit around feeling sad and hopeless and he didn't use up all of his wishes on himself, though he certainly had every right to put in a request for his favorite football player to pay him a visit. No, instead Trevor spent his last days fighting to raise money and food for the Baton Rouge Food Bank so that no family would have to experience what his did and go hungry.
As heartbreaking as it is to think little Trevor went days without food because his mom couldn't work while taking care of him, something tells me he wasn't the kind of person who would have appreciated it if you felt sorry for him. Trevor's Wish City-Wide Food Drive, which was a week-long charity event the food bank sponsored in his name, proved a big success thanks to the little boy with a huge heart. It raised more than 34,000 pounds of food and $64,000, according to the organization.
And the best part about this story is that Trevor had a second wish before he passed on: he said he wanted everyone to try and make a difference in the world. If he could do it while suffering with cancer, what excuse do we have? Trevor's story can easily be shared with other young children, so many of whom are naturally empathetic and would love to find ways to help others. But then I think it's up to us as parents to guide them in a direction in which they can actually be proactive and follow Trevor's example. Here are five easy ways you can get your children involved in service:
1. Use his or her Rainbow Loom obsession for good and not evil by encouraging kids to sell their bracelets and donate the money to a charity of their choice.
2. Help your child pick out clothes he or she can donate and then go together to a Salvation Army or Goodwill.
3. If your children love to bake or cook, ask them to put together a menu of their choosing that you will donate to a needy family or homeless feeding station in your community.
4. Have your child contribute a portion of his or her allowance to buy pet food for an animal shelter.
5. Set an example by bringing children with you when you give blood or volunteer at a food pantry. The more they see us do for others, the more they'll realize the important of giving.
Are you trying to teach your children to be more charitable?
Image via Kevin Lallier/Flickr