Share Your Goodwill

I’m not sure the exact math, but it’s something like this…

5 kids in school. The first for ten years, second for eight, third for six, fourth for four, fifth for two. Plus two years of preschool for each.

That’s 40 total years of school.

Let’s be conservative and say, every year has two programs of some sort (most have had more). Thanksgiving, Christmas, end of year, etc.

So in our almost 15 years of parenting, our kids have been involved in at least 80 school programs.

All of which I’m certain Brooke has attended. And I’m probably at 97%.

All of which I’m certain we’ve videoed at least part of one song. And we’ve probably only watched 3%.

No chance we’ll ever go back and watch all those songs.

But in the moment, it’s pretty rare if at least one of those songs doesn’t make us tear up.

In part because of the season or time of year. In part because of the hard work of all the teachers and staff. In part because our kids are up there singing.

This week, it happened again. For the 80th time.

This program wasn’t a typical Christmas or holiday themed show. It was basically a community research and caring project, acted and sung out.

The project was about hunger in our community. The kids all wrote essays, some wrote poetry, they went on a field trip to volunteer at Harvesters, they made poster boards with all sorts of facts and figures.

They designed shirts, designed pottery, called businesses to ask for raffle item donations.

In general, they crushed it.

They stood together and asked us to help them stop hunger in our community. A problem, in their 5th grade minds, that seems insane why it still exists.

If you know Brooke, you know on time to her is a few minutes early. If you know me, you know on time to me is well…I’m trying to get better.

So for these 80 shows, Brooke always has one of the best seats in the house. And she saves me one for when I roll in right at the start.

There were lots of neat moments in the program, but our front row seats gave us an up-close experience for a song called “Share Your Goodwill”.

We’ve heard it before in at least one of the 80, but it was a beautiful moment again.

“When you have a place to sleep at night, when you have some food to eat, when you have a coat to keep you warm, and shoes upon your feet…remember there are people not as fortunate as you. Remember they might need your help. You know what you can do…”

A few weekends ago, two of our daughters’ basketball teams adopted families for Christmas here in our hometown.

They came to our house on a Friday night to wrap all the presents, then the following weekend, we hit the road early Saturday morning to load up and help make Christmas a little better for three families who could use a little help.

We swung through the little square in our downtown and grabbed a turkey, eggs, milk and a huge box of canned goods these same elementary school kids had been collecting the last month.

Volunteers froze their faces off but smiled as they slammed the tailgate of my truck closed with all the supplies.

Then a few carloads of about 20 basketball players and a few parents got to play Santa for a few minutes.

At each house, the girls carried in presents and the food items, and though the mission of the day was to bless a few less fortunate families, like giving always does, it turned the blessing right back around to the givers.

Here were these families, with kids in the same schools, going through some really tough times, and welcoming strangers with gifts into their homes. Just so Christmas can be a little better for their kids than it would have been otherwise.

Did those gifts and food solve all their challenges? No chance. But did a little goodwill maybe lighten the load for a second? I’m sure it did.

4 outgoing, tremendous 5th grade girls were with me, and after the deliveries, the conversations shifted from silly to serious in a hurry.

They were moved. They were grateful.

Did that day solve all their challenges? No chance. But were glad they shared their goodwill? Absolutely.

Just like those beautiful 5th grade faces this week who beamed the chorus after the verses end with “You know what you can do…”

“You can share your goodwill. Oh, share your goodwill. Oh, keep in mind humankind and share your goodwill….”

Keep in mind humankind. And share your goodwill.

Because when we share our goodwill, it seems to be shared right back with us.

That’s what a bunch of 5th graders have taught me recently…

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