Paying it Forward

As I’ve written about in past posts, my Mother has had a tough time medically. She is an amputee and has been undergoing even more serious health battles in the last few weeks. Sometimes I think to myself, hasn’t she had enough? Really, how much can one woman take? One thing about Mom though, she never gets depressed. She gets pissed off. Over the years I’ve been amazed to see her anger turn into drive. Instead of whining about doctors visits, biopsies and blood tests, she looks up physical activities and exercises on the internet. Instead of going on a shopping spree to drown her sorrows in retail therapy, she donates to non-profit organizations and charities.

Mom has taught me so many things…how to brush my teeth…how to sort my laundry so everything doesn’t turn out pink…how to make a killer brisket. Most importantly, she’s taught me how to give back. One of the charities she’s involved with is AAC (Adventure Amputee Camp), a volunteer based charity that dedicates their time to giving limb deficient children the summer of a lifetime.

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It warms my heart when I come across people who donate their time, money, and energy to serving charities they have a personal involvement or attachment to. Donating money and time to charities is so important and should be part of EVERY person’s life no matter how much you make or how busy your calendar is.

I make it a point to teach my kids how to give back as well…just like Mom taught, and continues to teach me. Whether it’s donating clothing and shoes they’ve grown out of to those in need, buying and delivering brand new packaged Toys for Tots come Christmas time, or selflessly donating hair to Locks of Love, my children realize they are fortunate enough to have shirts on their backs, plenty of food on their table, and warm beds to sleep in. Not everyone is as lucky.

I try to express to them that giving to others is giving to yourself as well. It may not provide you with anything material, but it’s giving you pride, a conscience, a sense of community…and self worth. You can’t buy that in a store.

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