My dad likes to tell the story of when the kids spent the week at their house a few summers ago. My dad had Jeremiah in the car and they were on their way to help rebuild the porch of a home for disabled men.
The men's group from church had already done most of the construction and my dad was bringing Jeremiah to help paint. My dad was talking to Jeremiah and explaining what they were going to do when they got there. He asked Jeremiah if he knew why they were helping out that day.
Jeremiah replied, "Because they need our help?" Jeremiah was only 5 or 6 years old at the time.
The first time I heard this story, it made me incredibly proud. It meant I must have been doing something right and the lessons I was trying to teach had sunken in. My son understood that if someone needs your help, you help them, and that’s all there really is to it. There doesn’t need to be a reward or payment in it. Kindness really is its own reward.
Part of this, of course, is the environment in which he was raised. You see, for most of their lives my children have lived in what you would consider small towns. While Menifee is very close to the freeway and to shopping, I still consider it a small town. Just the other day, I appeared in traffic court for a citation, and I knew two of the officers there socially.
Recently, I stopped by Stater Brothers Grocery store on Newport road to pick up just a thing or two on my way home. Nothing elaborate; I think it was milk and eggs. As I stood in line waiting to make my final purchase, I heard a familiar phrase -- one that I had uttered myself on numerous occasions.
The woman with the loaded up cart in front of me asked, "Is that all you've got?" Then she motioned for me to take her place in line. I thanked her and checked out. On the way home, I started to reflect on this. This really is a quintessential part of life in Menifee.
It really helps me to raise quality citizens if my children are surrounded by quality citizens. Every day, my children are bombarded with the example of the kind of people who take a moment and recognize how their actions affect others. To treat someone like a neighbor even if you've only just met them. To me, that's exactly what it means to live in Menifee.
David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at email@example.com.