Family Life

A How To on “Taking Care Of” Others at School

| September 18, 2017

What is school? Do you remember? How could you forget? Was it good? What was bad? Do you remember your school years?

Yes, I remember many fond memories of school. However, when I think back on my years in school, it’s more of a feeling. Whether happy, sad or excited, school was more something that happened to me and less, what I did.

School was a mixed bag of emotions, filled with triumphs, struggles and loads of excitement; while simultaneously wishing for friends and still wanting to be alone.

For me, school was both hated and loved at the time. I hated being there, yet hated leaving my friends. Have you ever experienced this? School was a paradox where from class to class, hour to hour, one’s personality could change multiple times in one day. This could depend on if you liked your teacher, or if you liked your class mates, where you were seated in that class, if you missed breakfast or happened to be late to class once again, and was yelled at.

But, what is school for you today? Is school ongoing or an experience from long ago? Is school something you simply send the kids off to in the morning? Or is school something that haunts you because of how terrible your experience was?

Take a moment and think about the worst moments of your schooling career. Were you bullied? Were you unorganized? Did you struggle to find and maintain friendships? Did you walk to school with cold hands and feet, because as hard as your parents may have worked to keep you safe, it wasn’t enough to keep you warm during the brutal winter months? Could you tell whether or not the pavement was hotter than normal because of the holes in the soles of your shoes? Hmm. I wonder.

Now I ask this. What could school have been on these worst of days had someone offered you kindness?

What if someone quietly gave you new mittens, socks or shoes to stay warm? What if someone motioned for you to join them as you performed the struggle that is the mental Olympics of being a child and feeling completely alone in a crowded cafeteria, while trying to find a place to sit?

WHAT. IF. WE found it in our hearts to be selfish enough to help someone else? I know, it sounds odd, but bear with me here. Because it is definitely easier to figure out how to do something for someone else, if it somehow benefited us at one point…

BE SOMEONE’S “WHAT IF”

What if we took the time to think back to what would have helped us when we were in school, and then found the opportunity to be that “What If” for someone else today? Effectively doing something good for someone else, to “help yourself”.

There is nothing wrong with that either when we understand that we, as humans, are more likely willing to do something that interests or benefits us. So why not find an interesting way to bless others?

I can think back to a time when I was in school and being prepared for class was made incredibly difficult, seeing how I often was not equipped with proper supplies.

Now, with two parents that worked incredibly hard to provide for 9+ kids, things could clearly get tight. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if someone had gone through that same struggle when they were a child and decided to selfishly provide school supplies for as many who need it, to bless their own heart, while “Taking Care Of” others?

And it was in such a way that, right here in Fond du Lac, this community came together and provided supplies for over 960 students who were in need. This was all done through the collaborative efforts of over 300 volunteers by the community organization named Back to School FDL. I thought back to when I was in need and decided to join their efforts, to give the opportunities to others that may not have been afforded to me.

I recall walking to school often, not dressed properly for the frigid Wisconsin winters. Having to walk backwards into the wind to protect my face from the freezing winds.

As I think back on those times, surely I know I cannot travel back in time and fix it. However today, I can pack my trunk full of mini winter TCO’d kits that contain spare mittens, socks, blankets, heat packs and coats. While hopefully inspiring others to do the same. So that in the case that my gift is accepted, I may make a positive difference in someone’s life who happens to be struggling in the cold that day.

I find this type of positive thinking to be exhilarating. Finding a problem and asking, how can I TCO’d It (pronounced T-Code It). In other words, how can I “Take Care Of” it?

So… As we move into this next semester, think of this new school year as simply an incredible opportunity to “TCO’d” yourself by “Taking Care Of” someone else in need. Find that moment to bless someone.

Here’s to a school year full of generosity and Selfless Acts of Kindness!

Be kind and TCO’d this school year!

Officer Keywon Brown,
Fond du Lac Police Department & Founder of Life Enforcement

Destination Lake Winnebago Region