Thursday, 21 May 2009

Small Gestures - Big Impact

My Mum has, after many years of groaning, finally persuaded my Dad to clear out his loft. He's not the sort of person that keeps absolutely everything, but there is a lot of stuff up there that needs to go and he's recognised this.

He called me this week to ask if I had use of some kilner jars. I haven't really if I'm totally truthful, but they evoked many happy memories. I can still picture him sitting in the kitchen surrounded by piles of pickling onions spending hours peeling them and pickling them in the giant glass jars. I think he used to get them from the local sweet shop - the proper solid glass ones with the roses chocolates lids. I couldn't bear the thought of them being dumped somewhere so I've taken them off his hands and decided to use two of them straightaway. One to fill with 5p pieces and one for coppers.

When Andy and I showed the children the jars I casually mentioned to them that I was going to try my best to fill the coppers jar up by Christmas. A kind of mini challenge. I gave myself to Christmas as the size of the jar means an awful lot of 2p and 1p pieces going in there.

So I was really touched when they all announced that they had lots of coppers in their piggy banks and that they wanted to put them in the jar. Within minutes Eleanor and Sam were both heaving their full up piggy banks down the stairs and willingly volunteering all the contents. They didn't hesitate to sort out their silver and brown coins and cheerfully enjoyed the clink clink of the coins falling in. Joshua put in the few that he had in his wallet and Maddie even put in a few she could find.

I'm now looking at a jar that is nearly three quarters full. We're going away for a week in August and while it won't hold a fortune, I've decided that whatever is in the jar when we go away will be banked up and used for a small treat, even if it's just enough for us all to have an ice-cream on the beach.

It's times like this I'm really proud of my children. Really proud that they enjoy being part of a family and working together to achieve a small goal. To be selfless in what they do, knowing it's helping somebody else complete something they've set out to do. It was a big thing for them to hand back the endless small coins I've handed them each week and it was even bigger for them to do it with absolutely no knowledge that they're going to benefit. In the great scheme of things it wasn't a huge gesture, but the sentiment behind it is my point.

It makes me hopeful about the future of this world. Not all children are selfish and insular. Sometimes we don't give our children credit for their credible actions. And sometimes, we have to admit, their attitudes put us adults to shame.

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