Friday, February 3, 2012

RE-giving: Visiting the Sick for Valentine's

Cards prepared by Sunday School students for a visit to a local nursing home for Valentine's Day. 
  Several years ago, my friend Celeste, invited our group of friends and their kids to join her family when they visited a local nursing home for Halloween.  She had arranged to do a tour of the nursing home with reverse trick o' treating.  The kids, dressed in costume, would visit the patients and hand out candy.  Oh my gosh! I loved this idea so much.  We went and it was fantastic.  The patients were *SO* excited to get visitors for the holiday.  People may remember to visit nursing home patients at Christmas time, but not so much for the other holidays.  And it is true that old people love being visited by young people.

When Celeste invited us, I remembered that when I was a child, the nuns at my school always had the students visit the local nursing home to sing.  Was I a huge fan of it as a child? To be honest, no. As an adult however, I look back and see those visits as an important part of developing empathy.  As a mother, I welcomed the opportunity to show my daughter that I value being kind to others by my actions instead of just telling her how important it is.  I mentioned how much I liked this idea to the religious ed. coordinator at our church and she decided that we'd have all the kids in our program make Valentine cards for a local nursing home and we'd do a tour and visit them together as a project.  Isn't that great?!  My friend Celeste got the ball rolling and for the last several years, because of her, a whole other nursing home in our town, has been getting a big bunch of flowers and cards and a visit at Valentine's time.  My Sunday School kids have been making cards for the last few weeks and will be making them this Sunday before we go to the nursing home.

At the nursing home, we will have a bunch of carnations and cards for the kids to hand out.  We will also stop and do 2 "concerts" in the different wings of the nursing home = the kids perform 3 songs.  They sing "You are my Sunshine", "If you are happy and you know it" and the third song changes. Even toddlers all seem to know "You are my sunshine" and "If you are happy and you know it."

I know this isn't a new idea, but I thought I'd throw it out there in case other folks might like the idea the way I did, but also forgotten about it or not thought of it.  It doesn't have to be a Sunday school thing.  My friend, Celeste, organized a group of friends (plenty of whom were not religious at all) to visit the first time for Halloween.  It is just an act of kindness for folks who may be lonely and could use a little sunshine in their lives.  And it is very easy to do.  Just call a local nursing home up and I am sure they will be glad to set a time for a visit.  The people who work at nursing homes really enjoy these visits because it breaks up their day with a little sunshine, too.  I think it is a great addition to our holiday celebration.


1 comment:

  1. It was good the nuns tried to teach compassion. It is an important lesson for children.
    When I still taught the kids would make Valentines for those in the Vets Hospital. It was impt for them to learn these people served their country to keep them free.
    So a liitle learning and some fun making the cards!
    Thank you for visiting my blog. You did a wonderful job on the Dora party!