Reaching out to your community in a holiday season
By Arina Pittman
The days of the holiday season are all around us. It is the time to ask ourselves how do we forge a tradition in our families to reach out into our community and the world around us with gestures of care and concern. This search for an answer might be considered in a family conversation that can become a Winter Family Project – figuring out what can be done at home to cultivate lasting compassion and care that radiates out into the community.
The possibilities are endless, once we take a look at the world around us and see where our work and care might be needed. A positive action is an antidote to the depressing state of the world around us, an action that nourishes not only our communities, but also our children’s hope and trust.
Schools often create wonderful seasonal projects for children to assist with – warm clothes or food drives, making gifts and providing support for local shelters and helping in soup kitchens. For families it is important to reflect on how care and concern for others is a long term commitment and how it is supported at home.
We have found a few ideas that might resonate with your family:
- Take a Stand for New Mexico Women and Girls – and get involved with the
NewMexicoWomen.Org’. Their current Take A Stand campaign aims to raise one dollar for each of the 1.04 million New Mexican women and girls.
- Give a Gift of Time at the Santa Fe Time Bank, become a family member and a participant, give and receive within your community.
We all feel stressed for time, but in reality it comes to priorities – and focusing on what is truly essential in our lives. When a family determines that giving one or two hours of time is a part of their value system, that commitment can be tended and supported. An hour or two – per week, per month or quarterly – to offer babysitting to a family down the street, to make a soup delivery for someone recovering from an accident, or to help someone with an aching back to cultivate a bed in their garden – these are some of many opportunities through the Santa Fe Time Bank. It is a great way to introduce adolescent children to the values of commitment, seeing things through, keeping their word, and get a taste of “give and take” economy of trade.
- As a family, explore Voluntary Simplicity tenets to see how you can care for our larger community – our ecosystem, our watershed, our natural resources – by reducing your ecological footprint, your dependency on non-renewable resources. That is a whole long-term, family-wide project that might seem overwhelming at first. But if your children engage in identifying a few simple steps to get started (or to go deeper!), your family will be well underway caring for the world and community, in its daily acts.