Monday, November 5, 2012

Simple Acts of Kindness: Tangible Ways to Love Your Neighbor- Reaching out to Our Communities

Today Jill from Daily Bread shares about ministering to her community, family style. Jill is a violinist, homeschooling mom, and is passionate about living missionally and intentionally. She and her family strive to live out the prayer found in Proverbs 30, verse 8: "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." I hope you will stop by Jill's blog and take a peak at the beauty and generosity found in living simply.

It all started when my local librarian asked me to play my violin for the residents of the local senior home during the weekly library hour. I wasn’t playing professionally anymore because I had two young daughters, so I was eager to have an opportunity to play.

As I played and my daughters clung to my legs, walked around my music stand, danced a little jig and sat on the floor, I noticed the residents were taken with my daughters. Big smiles, twinkling eyes, arms stretched out in hopes of touching a child.

I realized how much this older generation wanted and needed interaction with a younger generation. And I knew from personal experience the value of a child interacting with the elderly. I went home that day and began reflecting on my own upbringing. As a child, my family “adopted” a woman who lived in our local nursing home. Each week we would visit Mary, taking her a dish of her favorite ice cream from Baskin Robbins, inviting her into our home for each holiday and family celebration. She became part of our family – a very important part of our family.

After several days of reflection and brainstorming, I proposed to the librarian that we start an intergenerational story time at the Senior home. We would invite families from the community to share a story together and do a craft. Although I moved away 5 years ago, this intergenerational story time is still taking place.

Now that my daughters have grown up a bit and have learned to play the violin, we make monthly visits to a local nursing home to share our music with the residents. We are often joined by one or two of my other students and it’s become a highlight of our month. I love it when my girls eagerly ask when it’s time to visit the nursing home again.

An added blessing is that they are not the least bit intimidated by the people who live there or others who live in similar situations. Both my husband and I have grandmothers who now live in nursing homes. When we are able to visit them, our young girls are eager and excited to visit their great-grandmas. It blesses me to see them comfortable in a situation where many people feel uneasy.

Anyone can visit a nursing home. You don’t have to have a musical talent to share, you just have to have an open heart. Take a Bible along and begin reading it aloud. Sit next to someone and hold their hand. Ask a resident about their earlier life (Mary, my friend from childhood, was a chef at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City!). Take fingernail polish and paint some fingernails. Take an easy craft for the residents to make.

I’m pretty sure you will quickly realize that as you bless others, you too will be blessed.

Read the rest of this series here.


Denise said...


Betty said...

Your post brought conviction to me. I sing and have thought often of going to the nursing home to sing some of the old hymns to those ones trapped inside aging bodies. Thank you