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That wasn't help
That was love!
What do you think of when you hear the word charity? Is it ‘Oh no, someone wants my money? Do you equate it with pity, or do you think of an organisation you admire? Today, September 5th, is the International Day of Charity.
I’ve been reflecting on an organisation that has helped me immensely. Suzanne Alderson set up Parenting Mental Health to support parents of young people with poor mental health. I joined the community in December 2020 when my son was really struggling. I didn’t know how to help him. Within PMH’s safe community, I found friendship and support. Today, my son and I are doing SO MUCH better. I created ‘How Does a Mum,’ a digital story of our experience.
I kept mulling the word charity over in my mind. I was wondering why it sometimes gets a bad rap. The word itself in Middle English was associated with Christian benevolence. Perhaps this is why. Maybe people see it as stuffy and condescending. This is sad because if you go back even further, you can discover the true meaning of charity. Charity is one of the three virtues of the Christian faith, alongside hope and faith.
The New Testament writers used the Greek word agape for charity. Many modern versions use the word love interchangeably with charity. Love can be interpreted in many ways, but agape and, therefore, charity has a specific meaning; it refers to a pure, willful, sacrificial love that intentionally desires another’s highest good.
All this thinking brought to my mind another experience from within PMH. I was in a terrible way, and a friend from the community spent ages with me on the phone. It may seem hyperbolic, but the conversation was life-saving to me. It was only afterward I realised she did this despite having so much of her stuff to deal with. As this realisation dawned on me, I captured my thoughts in this illustration:
Within Parenting Mental Health, I have received true charity.
If you are the parent of a young person struggling with their mental health, I highly recommend joining the PMH private Facebook group.
Have you been involved in any charities you’d like to give a shout-out to? Let me know in the comments.
Do you have any reflections to share on love and charity? I love a good text chat.