It happened to me

Out and about

Thanksgiving will soon arrive and we’ll concern ourselves with the menu and choice of flatware. But, having traveled extensively to impoverished countries, I thought about what we, collectively, as parents can surmise and reflect on during this time of gratitude.

On a trip to El Salvador, we were asked to provide fluoride treatments to children and adults, to visit children in terminal facilities and help paint a boys’ orphanage. What was amazing was the dignity demonstrated by the village elders and their offspring. When food appeared at the party, no children ran or pushed to receive the offerings.

We know that parenting can involve a great deal of drudgery but trips like this made me realize how fortunate many of us really are. The opportunity to mentor and educate our children, provide them with food, snacks and clean water and shelter are luxuries that many families may never have.

I realize how lucky I am to be in a community where kids can skate on a surfaced sidewalk, hit the ball with a dedicated coach and walk to a café. I think about the families who would cherish the luxury of selecting the perfect activity and having the means and time to share it with their precious little ones and I don’t feel so stressed about whether to include the string cheese with the turkey on wheat or the organic apples.

Lisa ToremMom of four, Chicago

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