Giving back is important to me, whether I’m at work or at home. As I’ve raised my two teenage daughters, Hannah and Samantha, I have tried to model and teach the importance of giving back. For many people, the world is a broken place, full of hardships and difficulties. It is incredible to watch my girls recognize this and infuse their daily lives with a giving spirit, even when it’s not expected of them.
Both of my daughters learned about Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew term that translates to “repair the world.” It’s a powerful concept signifying that a single person can help to mend people’s hearts. After discussing the meaning behind Tikkun Olam, Hannah and Samantha put their learning into action.
They’ve done many different types of community service. They visit a local nursing home and spend time with the elderly. Hannah has befriended Molly, one of the residents. They both love to play bingo together! Samantha and Hannah also work to feed the hungry. They rake leaves for folks in the community who can’t take care of their yards, due to physical or financial limitations.
It’s traditional for girls to give a “goodie bag” away at their Bat Mitzvah party. After spending a year learning how to repair the world and seeing firsthand how much others need, Hannah decided to skip giving a goodie bag to her friends. Instead, she made a donation, in honor of her friends, to an organization that helps the less fortunate pay their rent or get a muchneeded car repair.
I’m so happy to see that my daughters have developed an appreciation for how wonderful it is to help others. My husband and I are so proud that they take the initiative to help others without being asked to. I started this parenting journey with a lot to teach them. But now, they’re teaching me with their amazing examples of selflessness. I know they’ll continue to do their part to repair the world – with acts both big and small.
Lee Sternburg lives south of Boston with husband, Andrew and two daughters, Hannah and Samantha. She has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 19 years, and is currently with our Janssen team. In her free time, she loves to run, bike, and hike. Her family enjoys skiing and each winter they experience a new mountain together.