My husband is constantly looking for ways to help other people. It's one of the things I most admire about him. Whether it's helping push a broken-down car out of an intersection, or slipping a McDonald's gift card to the homeless man on the corner, or buying the coffee of the person behind him in the drive-thru line, Matt loves to help other people. He's the commander of our church's AWANA this year, and he has already organized a food drive for the homeless and a clothing drive for foster care. He's our ministry's point person for foster care and adoption recruitment and support. He looks for needs, meets needs, loves people, and makes a difference. It's one of the things I love most about the incredible man I married.
This weekend he sat down to talk with the kids. He wanted to learn a bit more about their hearts and the people they would like to serve. At this time of year, especially, we like to get our kids outside of themselves and thinking about others. On Friday night he posed this question:
If you could help one kid, what kind of kid would you help, and what would you do to help them?
The kids were silent for a few minutes as they thought about it. Their responses were as unique as the kids themselves.
Sunny misunderstood. At first she said, "I would teach my friend Emma some manners at school so she wouldn't get on red so much." Well hello Pot, meet Kettle! HA HA HA! Wow, did I laugh! Then Matt clarified. He didn't mean a specific kid. He meant a type of kid. Like a homeless kid, or a poor kid, or a kid with a parent in jail. She thought some more and tried again.
Sunny (age 5 1/2): I would help a missionary kid in another country. I would help by sending some of my birthday money to her family so they would be able to have the things they need.
Piper (age 7 1/2): I would help a kid who doesn't know Jesus. Maybe her parents don't take her to church or talk about God. I would invite her to church with me and tell her how Jesus loves her so much that He died on the cross for her.
Bubbles (age 9): I would help teenagers in foster care. I would tell everybody I could about how every kid in foster care needs a family, especially the older kids, because if no one adopts them, they will age out of foster care and never have a family.
*Side note: Her bio mom told her that no one would want to adopt her and she would age out of foster care when she was 18. Nice, right?*
Snapper (age 11): I would help orph@ns and kids coming into foster care. The kids who feel so alone. I would give them a stuffed animal, kind of like a Build-A*-Bear where you can put a recorded message in the stuffed animal. The message would say, "Because God is everywhere, He is with you and you are not alone. And a girl in Florida is praying for you."
I just love this glimpse into their hearts. I love it! I love seeing the unique passions that are emerging in them, and the desire they all have to meet the needs of hurting people. I don't want my kids growing up feeling entitled. I also don't want them growing up totally sheltered. I want them to appreciate life and the good things they have. I want them to understand how privileged they are. I want them to be grateful human beings. And I want their eyes to be open to the people around them. I think we're well on our way!
For Christmas this year, we are doing a family project. Instead of having the kids give gifts to each other, we take the money we would have spent on those gifts and spend it on someone else. Last year each child purchased a gift for a child whose parents were incarcerated. This year we're adopting the chi!dren's home in Indi@ where my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are the house parents to 22 orph@ns. We're going to purchase a small gift for each of the kids in the chi!dren's home. The kids are so excited, and so am I! It will be good perspective for them, I think, to know that a coloring book and colored pencils are the only Christmas gift the child will likely receive, but they will be thrilled and thankful. Very good perspective!
You may be wondering why I didn't list Pepper's response to Daddy's question. It's because Pepper, in true Pepper form, thought way outside the box. If I had shared it earlier, I wouldn't have been able to make my point about giving kids opportunities to help others. Pepper's response is not what Daddy had in mind, but it made us laugh, and it will make you laugh, too. I love my son and his quirky way of thinking. I love the way he processes things. I love his academic use of vocabulary when he is saying something he thinks is very important. I love how funny he is without even meaning to be.
Pepper (age 7): I would go back in time and issue a formal apology to all the Native American Children. I would apologize that my ancestors took their land and ended the Native American way of life. I think that would help them because maybe it would heal some of the gaping wounds in their hearts.