Teaching Children The Importance of Helping Others

A friend of mine was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer five years ago at the young age of 33.  She was such a wonderful, caring, thoughtful, strong, and fun person.  Her smile was contagious.  I say was because she lost her five year battle this past May.  She left behind a young son, husband, sister (who is also battling the disease), father, mother (a survivor), and many other family and friends.
For the past 3 years I have walked with her in a local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.  This walk was so important to her.  Knowing there was a good chance last year would be our last walk with her, I wish I would have thought to have my family involved.  The walk this year was in memory of her.  We wanted to honor her and continue the fight for a cure to end this devastating disease.
 I felt it was very important to have both my husband and children there to support her family.  It was equally important to me for my children to understand why we were walking.  I also involved them in helping me get donation support.

When I told my boys we were walking I was asked many questions…

What is breast cancer?
How do you get breast cancer?
Does everyone die?
How can you not get it? 
Why do asking for donation support?
Why can’t we keep the money?
Why are we walking?   
I did answer every question. I did my best to answer in terms of a 4 and 6 year old could understand.  My main focus was to get them to understand the importance of helping and supporting family and friends around them.  Often times children are all about what they want and need.  That’s okay but we need to be aware of those around us and help people out when we can.  
The day of the walk I was again asked why we were walking and what walking around the city was going to do? Besides for the occasional “My feet are tired,”  the boys did great.  They took turns riding in a stroller we brought.  If I started to hear any fussing all I had to do is remind them that this walk wasn’t about them.  We were there to support a family through a hard time and also support the hope for a cure.  That’s all that needed to be said and they continued quietly.  
 It certainly didn’t help that we woke up to rain and the rain didn’t stop.  We had to arrive an hour early and it rained the entire time.  Thankfully the moment the walk began the rained stopped and we even saw a little peek of sunshine.    
At the end of the walk the boys were very proud to walk across the finish line.  Our team goal was $10,000 and we made that plus more.  We knew she was smiling down on us that day.  My boys also made there first steps towards learning that in life it’s not always about you.  It’s always a good feeling to do something to help and support others around us.  
Now every night before bed we discuss one thing we all did to help someone else that day.  The boys sometimes need a little guidance but will always remember the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.  And so will we.  We can only hope that our efforts will someday help fight a cure.
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