We are blessed that we are able to send our daughter to a Sacred Heart school here in the New Jersey. One of the main reasons that we chose the school was their focus on social justice and community involvement. Lucy has always been a deeply empathetic child so having her in a space where she can express that and have the ability to act on it was important.
This past week her school participated in a program called Loaves and Fishes. The students made sandwiches for bag lunches to give out at St Mary's in Trenton. The entire school gets involved. The day began with the teachers setting the intention of giving to others. And with that, they started.
The girls formed an assembly line of bread, cheese and luncheon meat. As the sandwich was passed down, an ingredient was added until it was complete and arrived at my daughter to place in the bag. It was here that Lucy paused and noticed what was happening.
Some of the sandwiches were meticulously prepared, others were done in haste. Lucy noticed and said something to her friends. As she relayed the story to us, she said something like this:
"Hey guys, take your time putting together the sandwiches. Someone is going to receive this and eat it. Someone who doesn't have as much as we do. Would you rather have a neatly made sandwich or a messy sandwich?"
And as she told us the story, Mitch and I held back tears. Tears of absolute pride. Because she gets it. Giving to others is so valuable. But you must give in a way that respects the value and pride of the recipient. And in so doing, you are also respecting all of humanity and ultimately yourself.
Because every person deserves to be treated with kindness. And even such a small thing as how you make a sandwich can reflect that.
I'm proud of Lucy for speaking up. And proud of her friends and classmates for participating in this day of giving. And of the school for providing the opportunity to give to others.
Because, charity is an act of love. And learning how to be charitable is a gift that one carries for life. And you never know when you might need to be on the receiving end. And when you are, which sandwich would you prefer? The neat one or the messy one.
You know the answer. And I'm proud that my daughter at the young age of 13 knows it too.