California AIDS Ride and community service, part 2

5.      Relationships are more important than material goods. We lacked our homes, our beds, and the comforts to which we have become accustomed. But we were a group of people who were dedicated to making life better for each other. The value of our relationships became more important than the material plane on which we usually live.

6.      A little bit of humor goes a long way. There’s nothing funny about waking up at 4:30 AM to prepare for serving breakfast at 5:00. Nor is there anything humorous about riding more than 100 miles in one day on a bicycle. But we learned to look for the humor in all situations so that we could enjoy the adventure.

7.      We must adapt to change. At home, one can shower, eat, and go to sleep whenever one wants. But on a journey orchestrated to move this many people, there have to be set times for all activities. One learns the schedule and adapts to it, rather than try to make it adapt to one’s personal needs.

8.      We appreciate what we have. This is especially true when we are faced with a situation in which we temporarily lack what we usually have. We miss our family, friends, pets, home, and other aspects of our lives. Being without those for a short period of time puts them into perspective so that we can appreciate them all the more upon our homecoming.

        How do these lessons apply to families? It serves children well when parents help them to focus attention outside of themselves; get them to think about things other than how their hair looks and what kinds of shoes they are wearing.

        These lessons are applicable to all community service projects. Families can help to guide their children in a wide array of activities, including tutoring a child who needs help, serving meals in a homeless shelter, visiting elderly people, or running errands for those who cannot get out of their homes.


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