Twice now our volunteer activities have been thrown off course. Our World Oceans Day project was trumped by a fever. The next mishap came as we headed to our summer service commitment visiting with seniors. President Obama was in town, and as we approached our destination… BAM! Road closure gridlock. Impatience from the backseat ensued. I decided it was in everyone’s best interest to head to the park down the street until the traffic dissipated. By that point, the toddler tiredness wouldn’t amount to a cordial visit with our elderly companions.
From an early age, I hope to model the importance of accountability with our daughter. Yet, toddlerhood inevitably leads to some volatility, and this sometimes wreaks havoc on our commitments. Being prompt was something I prided myself on. Now I’m consistently 10 minutes late (Hey, at least I’m consistent). Before kids, If I said I would be somewhere, I rarely would cancel. Now, a later than expected nap or mini-meltdown can thwart our best-laid plans.
Generally when I can’t honor a commitment due to unforeseen toddler tribulations, there is resounding understanding from the hosts and organizers, and this was no exception from the Big Sunday staff when we cancelled our visit with seniors. Yet, something still didn’t sit right about missing this event. What we were providing was valuable and necessary. I still felt accountable.
The good news is that accountability can still exist even if the unexpectedness of life with kids takes over an occasional commitment. Philanthroparents can use rain checks to their advantage in their quest to make a positive impact on the world through their parenting. Usually a rain check means rescheduling your plans, but what if we used rain checks as an opportunity to do even more? Rain checks with a purpose!
Yes, you can absolutely reschedule the missed play date, dinner party, or trip to the zoo. Bravo for showing your kids accountability. But, what if you shifted the focus instead? Rather than rescheduling plans in the exact same manner, you and your child could think of ways to do something similar that is also of value to others or the community.
- A missed a sports practice becomes a donation to a child’s Make-A-Wish campaign helping them meet their athletic role-model.
- A pesky virus thwarts your dinner with friends and turns into serving a meal at your local shelter.
- Your toddler wakes up on the wrong side of the crib. The trip to the botanical gardens is out. Buy a kid’s guide on composting and start up a system at home, or volunteer at the closest community garden.
Just think of accountability as the “ability to make something count.” You can acknowledge and honor the missed commitment with a rain check that pays back … or pays it forward! Make your rain check count.
Share the concept with the world. How did you add value to your rain check?
#PayForwardRainCheck to @philanthroparnt