Putting out fires
Putting out fires
Scott Dunlop
Source
Hello again, heroic parents,

What a week it was in the Cape last week. There were flames on the mountain above our house for about three days and worse fires blasting all along the peninsula. Young firefighter, Nazeem Davies and helicopter pilot Willem Hendrik “Bees” Marais both lost their lives. Thousands of people contributed to the efforts in dousing the flames, and even more people rallied to support them. The fires would still be going had it not been for the sacrifice of the community.

There were small acts of heroism, too, like the little girl who arrived at the local fire station with the sandwich from her school lunch to donate to the tired fire crews.

Some schools collected food and refreshment for the firefighters, and there were parents who volunteered to assist either in fighting fires or in other support measures in their communities. The devastation was massive, but so many children have seen their parents committed to helping others.

You can’t fake that kind of lesson.

Of course, you don’t have to fight a fire to inspire a child. You can do something as simple as picking up litter on your local beach, or offering to help out at a soup kitchen for homeless people. One friend of mine started something five years ago called “Twitter Blanket Drive”. She simply asked if people on Twitter could drop off a blanket for disadvantaged communities. The idea caught on, and thousands of blankets have been collected and distributed annually.

You could be a hero in your own home by teaching your child to respect others and to share resources.

Best of all, though, is when an entire community rallies behind a cause. I often come across Facebook pages set up to support families in need- perhaps a child is very ill and the family needs financial support for the medical costs, for example- and it’s astonishing to see the wealth of empathy that exists.

If you’re feeling a bit isolated as a parent, you can reach out to help others. Your child can only benefit from seeing you making the world a better place, even if it’s only in a small way. In my experience, children enjoy the opportunity to volunteer in this way, too, and it’s a small step to creating a better society for them in the future.

I am proud of my community that helped put out the fires, and of all the brave parents and children who pitched in.

Are you and your children involved in any community projects or volunteering work? What do you do? Email us with your thoughts.

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