HUH? Don’t Be Fooled, They ARE Paying Attention!!

As a parent, like every parent, we all want what’s best for our kids.  We feed them healthy (well, most of the time), take them to the dentist (with bribery), teach them respect and show them love.  We guide them the whole way hoping that one day they can and will do it all by themselves.  It’s every parents dream for their children to achieve more than we did, going down life’s path respecting and loving themselves, their family and those close to them. Even though sometimes we falter because nobody is perfect, we sometimes get it right.  We know the books, lectures, flash cards, timeouts and manners after continuous repetition will sink in, and one day, we can look back and pat ourselves on the back because we will have molded our children into exactly what we thought they needed to be (hint of sarcasm)… 😉

As parents, we also know we can’t mold, change or make our children exactly who we want them to be.  We can try, but it will ultimately fail.  They are who they were born to be, and all we can do is guide them in the right direction, give them an open door, cross our fingers and toes, and pray everything we taught them does eventually sink in.  However, what we sometimes forget, which can be one of our biggest challenges, is that even after all the books, all the lectures, all the teachings, they are watching our every move.  P-r-e-t-t-y scary sometimes, but then again, sometimes it’s really pretty awesome.

Like many of us, there are moments I forget how super smart (and big hearted) my kids are, but luckily they remind me ALL the time.  After I get through these moments of senility and realize what sponges they are when it comes to EVERYTHING, I could not be more proud. 

I began volunteering at the animal shelter for what I guess I would call selfish reasons.  I love those furry, four-legged and spending time with them, knowing their stories, is like therapy for me.  However, I may now need therapy for my therapy, cause it’s a straight up addiction.  At first, I would go on my own, but after a few times I did start to bring my kids along.  Unsure how they would like it (especially my son), at first I had accepted the fact that it may be a short trip but, turned out, they loved it.  Spending time with the dogs, holding the cats and watching as some of their new friends went to their forever homes, was exciting to them.  It also allowed me to spend time and connect with my kids while we did something we all enjoyed.  I knew it effected them, I could see it in their faces, and the way they were with our own dogs when we were home, but I had no idea how much, until this weekend.

When I have my kids for the weekend I try my hardest to spend as much time as I can with them, but sometimes there are things that just need to get done.  This Sunday was one of those “need to get stuff done” days and I left it up to my kids to entertain themselves.  Guess what they played for hours and hours straight with no TV or video games, and NO fighting (a HUGE feat)?…

Animal Shelter!!  Complete with signs (which pictures I have posted), beds for each animal and pee pads for the ones who make mistakes.  They also provided cheap vet care and fundraised for money donations along with toy donations.  My son was the field officer “runner/helper/(youngest)” collecting the animals, changing beds and adopting, and my daughter was the manager/director/vet who coordinated adoptions, took care of the animals medical needs, calculated a budget, gross and net proceeds and managed donations (I swear she did)!  Although it was Deal or No Deal money and we donated approximately 5 million dollars, it was worth every cent to witness my children using their imagination and “playing” something that means so much to our family. 

When I first brought them along with me to the shelter I had no idea the impact it would have on their little lives, if any.  Once again, I underestimated their sponge-like quality and the big hearts they carry with them.  I can only hope that they keep these small but huge lessons with them always! 

 So, if you’re in the area, a wonderful opportunity is waiting at the Animal Shelter. Spend some time with those who need it desperately at the same time send an incredible message to your children—Your Time Can Change a Life (even if it’s a furry one).  Believe me, you may not notice at first but it is one of those “somethings” that WILL sink in.

Every moment can be a lesson, and if they learn to love young, they love always.

WRITE, CALL OR STOP ON BY!! Your new friends are waiting for you!! (Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; or check out the adoptable pets here:



  1. I really enjoyed your post. I am so eager to take my daughter with me to the shelter in Pennsylvania where I volunteer (The Helen O. Krause Animal Foundation, Inc), At 3, she is too young, since they don’t accept volunteers under the age of 7, but I know when the time comes, it will be a big event in her life, and that it will become a very special time for us, as it has been for you and your children.

  2. Thank you so much. Your daughter if very lucky to have a mom like you and it will definately be time spent that will be cherished–Thank you for reading and keep up the great work!!

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