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What My Mother Taught Me

May 4, 2010

My mom taught me how to read. She taught me how to roller-skate. And how to make perfect spritz cookies (her secret? keep the dough chilled). She also taught me the value of volunteering.

It happened through Girl Scouts. In 1954, my mom joined a troop in the San Fernando Valley. When I was growing up, she’d tell me stories of her years as a Scout, which included her troop’s visits to a boys’ orphanage. They’d bring cookies or cupcakes and socialize with the boys.

In 1986, I became a Brownie Girl Scout in Orange County. For the next 12 years, I would learn as much in Scouting as I did in school.

  • As a camp cook, I learned that singing along with the Beastie Boys while stirring scrambled eggs makes them fluffier.
  • As a wheelchair tennis tournament ball girl, I learned the rules of tennis.
  • As a hospital Christmas caroler, I learned that enthusiasm matters more than pitch.
  • As a summer camp counselor to girls with developmental disabilities, I learned that everyone deserves a chance.
Everyone knows that in volunteering, you’ll help others feel good about yourself. But here’s the secret benefit: you’ll have a blast and remember it for the rest of your life.
Volunteer San Diego can help you find the perfect service project.
Perhaps, one day, you’ll be able to tell your daughter about the time you brought home-baked cupcakes to boys living in a makeshift home.
Happy Mother’s Day! Leave a comment and tell us how your mother taught you the value of service.

Michelle Panik is a volunteer Blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also has her own blogs at Stray Carrier Pigeon and Michelle Panik.

PHOTO CAPTION: Circa 1987, my mom helps my troop paint store windows as a fundraiser.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 8:52 pm

    Looking back, I think one of the best things my mom did was to push me (even in 8th grade) to find volunteer projects on my own. Then, she supported me with whatever I found by driving me around to the various projects. I realized that I had something on my own to offer my community.

  2. May 7, 2010 2:24 pm

    How wonderful! I think that's what parents are supposed to do: nurture and support their children, and enable them to be independent.

  3. May 10, 2010 1:41 pm

    My mom taught me to sew and cook, at the time, it was kind of embarassing, I was a a ten year old boy and got teased. It really paid off to have learned those simple skills. When I was dating, women were impressed, I was able to cook and sew a button on my shirt. Mom's, you rock.

  4. May 28, 2010 8:48 pm

    I love this piece. My parents are also the reason that I became involved in volunteering. They used to MAKE my brothers and I attend quarterly campus clean ups at our Elementary School. We always hated getting up early on those Saturdays because we used to sleep in, eat cereal and watch cartoon; but, once we were at school with our friends and neighbors not in a classrooms, we had a blast! And that's how it all began. 😀

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