Recently, we completed our Bigger Than Texas Road Trip, which encompassed over 4600 miles and seven states. Beyond all the amazing sites we saw and experiences we had, we had a goal on our 21 day trip – We wanted to spread the Texas Love. Ok, what?
Things like picking up trash – From the bottom of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico to standing in line at Disneyland to the river beds of the Lower Animas River in Durango, CO – these kids became naturals at scooping up stray trash and finding a bin to put it in. Without Momma asking…..
We looked for fun ways to give back too. Doing laundry on the road was difficult. It was time consuming and expensive. We had purchased too much laundry detergent, so we thought it would be nice to leave it behind for the next weary traveler. And then my daughter came up with the idea to leave our stack of extra quarters behind too!
At the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, several of the volunteers are Veterans and we were able to thank them. But the coolest moment happened at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA. My son had the opportunity to hear from a former B-17 ball turret gunner who flew 30 missions in WWII before being hit by flak. He was in awe of his stories, asking him several questions. And afterwards went up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his service to our country.
So we left her a big tip and then left. We didn’t wait around to see her reaction or get a “thank you.” I explained to the children that we do good deeds because people deserve them and not because we want to see the reaction. Sometimes, we just knowing in our hearts that we did something nice was all the reward we needed.
When we started planning our “Bigger Than Texas Road Trip”, it was all about what we would receive out of a trip of this magnitude. Setting our sites on Paying It Forward on the trip rewarded us more than we had ever hope. And it made up realize the importance of having a mindset of doing for others rather than it be all about what’s in it for me. It’s a life lesson that I hope my children will maintain.
You don’t have to Pay It Forward in special circumstances, like a vacation. Doing good deeds, looking for opportunities to help and doing the right thing when people are not watching you are goals we all want our children to have. And they can be done every day.
It was natural to work with State Farm Insurance on our Road Trip. It’s their theme of “Like a Good Neighbor” that went hand-in-hand with teaching my children to be a “good neighbor”, even on vacation. For them, being a good neighbor is about good customer service. But it is so much more than than – it’s a philosophy we all can learn from.
I hope you are inspired to be more of a good neighbor at home and when you are traveling. My children were very inspired and looked for opportunities every step of the way. Our goal is to continue that excitement for doing for others now that we are home.
I am working with State Farm Insurance this summer in a series of sponsored posts. All opinions are strictly my own and not endorsed.