Recently my family was in the parking lot of a gas station, renting a Redbox movie. My soon looked over and joyfully shouted, “LOOK! A POLICEMAN!” (Well, it was actually, “WOOK! A POWICEMAN!” Kid talk … it completely charms me.) My son has had great experiences with police officers in the past, and he was thrilled to see one of his heroes at work.
The policeman, sitting in his car, noticed us and smiled. I brought my kids over to meet him. He got out of his car, greeted us, and took a few moments to get to know my children. As we went to leave, he looked at me and said, “Thank you. I really appreciate when parents take the time to introduce their kids to me. I want kids to know that I’m a good guy, and that if they need me, I’ll be there to help them.”
These words touched me. As parents, we teach our kids to call 911 in case of an emergency. But do they know who actually responds to those calls? Do they know who the policemen (and policewomen) are in our areas? And have we taken the time to get to know them — and to say “Thank You?”
This week, that is our service challenge. We are going to find our local police officers, and we are going to say thank you.
I’ll admit, other than chatting with them in parking lots and in stores, I haven’t made the effort to look for our local policemen to thank them for their efforts. So this week’s challenge is not just for you and your family, but for mine as well! And I’d love to hear your ideas and your feedback!
To start this challenge … first, if you don’t already know it, find where your local police station is. Just do an internet search for “Police Station” and your city name. I live in a city that is large enough that we have the headquarters, and then several smaller offices. (I had no idea!) Locate the office that is closest to you – these will likely be the men and women who will race to help you in an emergency.
When you’ve located that station, it’s time to say thank you! Here are a few ideas I have for you:
* Make a thank-you card. This is cheap, simple, and a great activity for kids. Being a police officer can be a thankless job – let them know how much you truly appreciate their work and their sacrifice.
* Drop off a treat. Because seriously … who doesn’t love being surprised with a fun snack?? I’d advise against bringing homemade food unless you personally know your police officers – they need to be very careful about accepting food from strangers. But pre-packaged snacks will likely be greatly appreciated!
* Bring water bottles. I don’t know about you, but where we are, it’s HOT outside! A case of water bottles will always come in handy.
* Pay for a meal. If you see a police officer grabbing fast food, consider picking up the tab. Or you can drop off gift cards to local restaurants. Even a $5 gift card is enough for a quick snack or a treat for a busy officer.
* Just say thank you. Seriously. That’s what this challenge is all about. If your house was bring broken into … if you were in a store that was being robbed at gunpoint … if you found yourself a victim of a violent crime … a police officer would risk personal safety to rescue you. It’s easy for us to take this for granted, but I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to remember them. I want to appreciate them. And I want to teach my children to do the same.
What ideas do you have for us for this week’s service challenge? How have you helped support your local police officers? What will you be doing for our challenge this week?