15 September 2015

Reflections on Service

I have gotten a lot more involved at the school this year, and am leading a committee to organize service projects and events for the students and families at the school.  The service program is called Service39 (the school is called Design39Campus, hence the 39).  And as part of this, the president of the school Collaborative (our version of a combined PTA/educational foundation), recently requested that several of us prepare reflections on a specific word to be including in the upcoming email communications that the Collaborative will send out to the parents.  My word is "Service."

So I started reflecting about service at different times of my life, and what an impact it has had on me and on our boys.  I'm not really sure if this is the kind of reflection that the Collaborative was looking for, but this is what I came up with.  (This is the extra long version, before I will pare it down to the required much shorter word count).  This brought some fond memories to mind, so I thought I would include it here too.

"If I reflect on some of my fondest memories throughout my life, I think of time spent serving alongside my family.  I remember as a young child going along with my father when he would help a new neighbor to unload their moving truck.  I remember feeling intensely proud of myself because I was strong, and a hard worker, and I could help just like the adults.  I remember one December when my family chose to secretly leave a turkey and other food, gifts for the children, and a Christmas tree on the doorstep of a family in need.  I felt a strong bond with my family through serving others, and the special feeling that one gets when they know they are doing good for someone who really needs it.  I remember as a teenager spending long, complaining hours alongside my parents painting all the wood for the patio cover that my parents decided we would all build together as a family.  I still remember how annoyed I was at having to spend my Saturday painting instead of playing with friends, but I also remember the real satisfaction that I felt after the project was finished, that I helped my family to build that big, beautiful structure.  And now that I am a mother I reflect on the time spent with my own family helping to clear brush from a local hiking trail.  As I picture the smudged and dirty faces of my little boys working so hard, the pride and satisfaction of serving together as a family beamed from their smiling eyes.  Service increases our love for those we serve, it strengthens family bonds, it teaches us to work hard and be selfless, and it results in a feeling of contented satisfaction and genuine happiness.  As Gordon B. Hinckley said, 'The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.'"

And here is what I carved it down to in order to meet the required word count:

"Some of my fondest memories are of times spent serving alongside my family.  As a little girl I accompanied my father to help our neighbors move; and I felt intensely proud of myself because I was a strong, hard worker.  One December we secretly left food & gifts for a family in need; and I felt I was part of something special.  As a teenager I spent long hours alongside my parents building a patio cover; (although I complained about helping) I also felt real satisfaction when we finished.  And as a mother I reflect on when my own family cleared a hiking trail; & I remember my boys’ dirty little faces grinning after a hard day’s work. Service increases our love for those we serve, strengthens family bonds, teaches us selflessness & hard work, and results in contented satisfaction & genuine happiness."

— Stephanie Bradshaw, Service39

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