As we rapidly approach the beginning of school, many parents are grappling with the frustration of listening to their children complaining about the lack of things to do. Video games aren’t as much fun, the swimming pool is overcrowded and the neighbor kids are boring.

Why not turn the lack of summer excitement into an opportunity to do some good? The local news recently covered a young man who was walking his way across country to raise money and awareness for type one diabetes. His courage and determination inspired me to think about converting youthful energy into acts of service.

Suggest to your child or teenager that many local skilled nursing or assisted living facilities are urgently looking for volunteers. You and your child can spend some afternoons visiting seniors.

What about grabbing some large plastic bags and visiting the local park or playground to clean up the trash? Bring some disposable gloves and imagine how proud you’ll be to see a local play area is free of bottles and paper.

Lemonade stands are always fun but what about using the proceeds to benefit a favorite charity? Make large signs that indicate intentions to give profits to a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Clean out your pantry and take the money and cans of food with you.

Help kids select five or ten books or toys that are no longer useful. Take the kids to Goodwill or Salvation Army to recycle them.

Our children and grandchildren learn community service from those they love and admire. With some creativity, energy and clarity of purpose, we all have the ability to develop a generation of benevolence. Shalom.

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