Painting a Neighborhood

It is hard to believe, but the day finally came for the Superheroes of Kindness to help stain Sharon’s fence.  Even though it was rain that kept us at bay for so long, we were met with a bright (and very hot) sun the afternoon of this mission.  This mission was very special to me because there was a child from four different early childhood classrooms, plus a parent with each!  Another nice surprise was that when we originally talked about doing this mission, we were just hoping to help someone in our community.  But as plans were laid out, we found that the fence we were painting belonged to a woman down my street, which also places her across the street from one of the Superheroes who was helping to paint.  Our adventure transformed from helping someone in our community to assisting a neighbor.

Really, the sun was quite hot and it was 5:30pm.  So although the children were eager to do a mission, they were not sure initially what they had gotten themselves into.  Luckily some juice boxes and bunny crackers appeared helping to ramp up the energy, and it was not too long before all the children were staining.  Modeling the importance of helping those in your community, ACE Hardware donated all of the supplies needed.  (Thanks ACE!)

It was quite funny looking at the fence at various points.  You could tell where adults painted because the stain stretched from top to bottom, and you could tell where children painted because the paint stopped 3/4 of the way up.  But boy, were those children focussed when brushing that fence.  It was hard not to tear up as I watched families painting together; a dad giving stroking advice to his son, two brothers working side by side, and two other brothers rotating turns without really knowing they were doing that.

As the children finished, parents continued to paint.  And two volunteers from Imagine Missoula, Catherine and Penny, worked diligently the whole way through.  These two lovely ladies stayed and finished the staining after the children’s energy and attention spans dwindled and parents departed with their children.  (Thank you Catherine and Penny for seeing the project to the end!)

I am used to the children being filled with a sense of pride after a mission, talking about what they did and recounting their memories.  But this time I have had the joy of talking walks with one of the children by the site of the mission, and it is positively delightful seeing the pride come out through body language and demeanor.  My little lady gets slightly more bounce in her step, stands a little taller, and talks in a way that is almost whimsical.  She only briefly mentions that we painted the fence, but always suddenly has the urge to go out and do something nice for someone as we walk by.  At home, she now talks about Sharon down the street.  “Sharon might like to plant flowers by the fence we painted, Mama,” she will say.  This is a child that has not only built pride in herself, but in her neighborhood.  She has ownership, belonging, and a feeling of playing an important role.  What an amazing feeling to have at age four.

Comments from this post:

  1. You are extraordinary!
    No further comment needed!
    @surreallyno (Twitter)

  2. So wonderful! Congratulations on having an impact on so many people in so many ways.

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