A common thing we all do on the weekends is to try and get our families together. Typically, this is squeezed in between sporting events and either happens at a kid-friendly restaurant here in town or sometimes at each other's home.

You know that gig.

The hosting family stresses out making sure the house is unusually clean, spends hours discussing and preparing the menu, gets consumed with our kids misbehaving while everyone is over and followed with an enormous amount of cleaning to get the house back to some sort of livable shape. All in all, you're more exhausted Monday than you started on Friday night. Sound familiar?

I wanted to share a great gift that our friends, Harris and Gayle Greenberger, gave to us this weekend. You might be thinking that I'm going to tell you about a gift they brought to our house. It wasn't that. Your second guess might be that they had us to their house allowing us to avoid the above-mentioned torture. Nope!

They gave us an invitation to this weekend's Friendship Circle walk held in Stamford to raise money for children with special needs. The Friendship Circle aims to provide children and teenagers with special needs with many of the social and recreational experiences that are currently available to the general community and provide their families with support. This organization benefits more than 100 families who have children with special needs (www.friendshipct.com).

The event was great for us to go to on Sunday. It started with a one-mile walk where all the participants got to enjoy each other's company and fellowship, many of whom were talking about the event theme and shared their stories. While my immediate family does not have a child with special needs, I was quickly reminded about the added challenges that these families live every day.

I also learned about the enormous gift that these families get, which is the unbelievably grounded and real perspective they walk through life with based on their family's unique circumstances. Not one of these families view this part of their life with an ounce of negativity. Wow, one of my personal great take-aways from the event.

There was a petting zoo where my kids got to get close to a monkey, rabbits, and goats. My 4-year-old daughter got to go on a few pony rides. My 8-year-old was playing soccer on the big turf field at Westhill High School. There were rides, games, food, you name it. Fun-fun-fun.

Why do I share this with you? We decided to go to lunch as a family afterward and talk with the kids about the day. And of course, they couldn't stop talking about the "cool animals" they got to play with. But they also understood that they were there for another reason -- to raise money for others.

We could all pack our weekend schedules going to charity events at which different friends ask us to join them. What an amazing gift we got from Gayle and Harris who invited us to be part of their special day. The ability to teach our kids such a valuable lesson without them ever thinking for a second that it wasn't a blast, is such a great lesson to us all to make sure that we are adding life-lessons to the fun and fun to the life-lessons.

Tom Henske is a Westport resident and partner with Lenox Advisors, a wealth management firm with offices in New York and Stamford. His "Money-Smart Kids" appears every other Wednesday. He can be reached at: thenske@lenoxadvisors.com.