Andy Boerger, the illustrator of my two children’s books, What Does the Tooth Fairy Do With Our Teeth? and Soap on a Rope, has written and illustrated another of his own amazing books! This one is called The Angel Corps: The Necessity of Putting Others First. It’s a self-help book that promotes the idea of helping one’s self by helping others.
In a world where the internet and social media have brought the very worst human experiences to us as they happen, The Angel Corps is a warm, cheerful and, most importantly, hopeful book about the best in people and what they are capable of doing to improve the world around them in ways both large and small. The premise is simple; life goes better when we put others first; when we embrace the opportunities to help and serve as we go on with our days, and our lives. A poet as well as author, Andy charmingly writes:
Here is an excerpt from The Angel Corps: The Necessity of Putting Others First
LET Your Left Hand Know…..
Is it wrong to ‘brag’ about our Angel Corp activities? As someone who was raised in a Catholic household and attended parochial schools, this is something that I have struggled with. There is a passage in the New Testament that instructs, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,…” Like so many of the lessons I was taught by the well meaning people who nurtured my spirituality, that admonition has stuck with me, as I am sure it has for many people.
Yet, if we adhere to a strict policy that all our ‘angelic’ acts are carried out covertly, mightn’t that prevent them from influencing others to imitate them? How will a child model behavior that is continually kept secret from him/her? I wanted to teach my daughter, as best I could, about the importance of putting others first. I didn’t think it was necessary to tell her about every time I did; but should I never? Furthermore, mightn’t I be neglectful of my parental duties by failing to provide examples to her of exactly the behavior I hoped she would adopt?
Certainly, the best way to teach a child is not with words, but through deeds. Children naturally model behaviors they actually see, much more than those they merely hear about. Yet, the very point of most Angel Corps acts is that they are spontaneous. They arise unexpectedly, in the course of our daily activities. It is one thing – and a very good thing – to introduce our children to charitable activities by taking them along with us. When children participate with one or both of their parents in volunteer activities, they can experience for themselves the rewards to the self that such activities provide. But, as ‘angels’, much of our work is ad hoc, arising spontaneously in response to the numerous needs of our fellow beings. We don’t plan them as outings, precisely because we don’t plan them at all.
I eventually decided that there are times when it is appropriate to tell others about angel work, beginning with my daughter. My decision to write this book is an iteration of that earlier decision to let her know what I was up to. I believe that the Angel Corps is news worth spreading. It’s good for each of us as individuals, and it’s good for the planet. Looking back, it’s a bit comical how much I experienced that ol’ Catholic guilt when I first started telling my daughter about my rescues of worms, sharing food with stray cats, sharing food or money with homeless people, etc. What, after all, was there to feel guilty about? It’s not like I expected to raise myself in her estimation with such reports. NO daughter thinks better of her father when he gushingly announces to her that he saved seven worms that day! I neither wanted nor expected that. I simply wanted her to be aware that some people, including her dad, engaged in such acts, so that she herself might eventually consider doing so as well. There was no pressure. I didn’t throw a lot of ‘should’s’ at her. I just wanted to plant the idea in her head that putting others first was an option, and allow that seed to flourish or wither according to her own judgment.
To buy Andy’s book on Amazon click here, and enjoy!