Family Life

Trying to be a Helper

I’ve been really affected by the violence of this week.

In the past, I have said my prayers and moved on. But this week, it’s harder to do that. It doesn’t feel like enough.

There’s a quote from beloved Fred Rogers that makes its rounds whenever there is violence in the news. look for the helpers

And it’s a good reminder. But this time it doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t want to just look for the helpers and tell myself that there is good to be found.

I want to be a helper and do some good.

But I’m not sure what to do, exactly.

I donated to the scholarship fund for Alton Sterling’s children. I donated to the fund for Philandro Castile’s family. I looked up articles on raising anti-racist children and being anti-racist allies and I shared these on Facebook and will try to use the advice myself:

Hand in Hand Parenting – Inoculating our Children Against Racism

Advice for White Folks in the Wake of a Police Murder of a Black Person

I felt so upset and agitated on Thursday, I felt I had to do something, anything so I got Calvin to help me organize the stuff in our attic waiting to be donated and we took a few boxes of clothes and books and toys over to Durham Rescue Mission, a local homeless shelter, for their thrift store. I explained to Calvin that we were going to be helpers because the things we were giving would be sold to other families who needed and wanted them, and that the money from the sales would go to help other people who needed things. I told him that sometimes we all need help and sometimes we can all be helpers.

We drove up to the donation drop-off area and I unloaded the boxes, but not the kids, from the car and then I got back in and told the boys we were all done. And Calvin was confused. He said, “I thought we were going to be helpers.” And I said,” Well, today we were helpers by being givers.” But like him, I felt like we hadn’t really done anything.


Every year (well, starting in 2014) I choose a New Year’s quote for myself and for our family. The first one I chose back in 2014 was a quote from Mother Teresa:

small things with great love

We knew 2015 would bring big choices and big changes for our family, so I chose this quote from Nelson Mandela:

choices reflect your hopes

And this year’s quote is from Brene Brown.

just show up 3

I’m choosing to remind myself of these quotes right now to remember to choose hope over fear, and remember that small things done with great love are just as important as big things, and remember to start by just showing up.

I will be honest about my ideas and feelings. I will look to my church and community for opportunities to be a helper and an ally. James and I will do all we can to raise these boys to know that they are loved and they are Love and they are called to Love. And maybe I’ll write more about it later.

How are you feeling this week? Any ideas about how to be a helper?



4 thoughts on “Trying to be a Helper

  1. I really like your idea of having a family quote every year. The ones you’ve chosen thus far are great. I just may have to steal this idea…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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