It’s true. I want to change the world, and I’ve always said we do that when we teach our children important things … like it’s cold outside; wear a coat. And be grateful you have a coat. And you left your coat where??
This season, your Partners In Pediatrics team is organizing a brief, practice-wide service opportunity. Think of it as a chance to teach your children that the blessing of a winter coat may not seem like that to him, but it really is to a child who doesn’t have a way to stay warm on the trip to school each day. It’s important for kids to understand that they can make a difference in the life of another person, and it may be as simple as looking for a coat that’s no longer being used. We want to develop and celebrate your child’s altruistic nature if you want to help us.
We will be working with Puritan Cleaners and some of their friends who know how to sew. We are collecting jackets and coats in good condition so that all the children in our Richmond neighborhoods can have a warm coat this winter. FIRST, think about why you might want to do this. It’s a teachable opportunity for you and your child, and it’s a very small commitment of time. We can ALL make a difference in the lives of others, and this is a way to be a living example of that truth. SECOND, this is all you have to do: look through your closets or ask around in the neighborhood for coats that kids have outgrown. You can donate grown-up coats as well, but they should all be coats that aren’t completely worn out. If the coat needs mending, don’t worry. There are people who are able to make minor repairs.
THIRD, for a few days, November 5th – 8th you can drop the coats in our office, and we will do the rest. You and your child can be part of something that will change the world! And then you’re done long before the holiday craziness gets going.
Except, if you’re lucky… you won’t really be done. Your child will notice the Thanksgiving canned goods drive at school and raid your pantry for green beans. All on her own. And the Salvation Army Santa who jingles that bell out in front of the grocery store will inspire your son to donate some of his allowance to his worthwhile cause. And maybe your family decides to clean out the toy chest and donate to a child who doesn’t have near so many toys before more arrive in December. If you’re lucky, you won’t be done for a long time because you will be raising the next generation of philanthropists.
We all change the world by what we teach the children. I want to live in the world where children are grateful for the things they have at the same time they are mindful of those who go without. Your children and mine can make a difference with just one winter coat.
Gayle Schrier Smith, MD
The Mom Who Accidentally Bought The Puffy Coat