Investing in our children to help them understand there's life outside their little bubble, is beyond important in our family.
Where’s my Thesaurus? I need a word bigger and dreamier than important...
Whatever it is, that’s how I feel.
I think sometimes people assume that since we’ve opened our arms to four incredible loves from Ethiopia, that we’ve got selflessness all figured out.
And sometimes I think “Ok, check. Living out the verse about caring for widows and orphans. Done.” But no…it’s not “Done.” Are you kidding me, Self?
That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Stop. Try again. Keep going.
How do we teach this to our kids?
Ben and I have been talking for years about teaching our kids to live outside themselves.
Kids are self-centered. Adults are self-centered.
You know it’s true…for the most part, we are. We all are, if we’re good and honest about it.
But if we teach the kids. If we open their eyes and their hearts when they’re young…think of the world we’d live in when it’s them with the jobs and the cars.
Them with the passion to change injustices and love on those who are in need of a little extra.
What kind of world would we live in if our children changed the world?
When we returned home from Ethiopia after bringing Anton (then six years old) with us, his life was changed. He sold piles of his toys in hopes to build a well, after watching a group of women and small children on a Water-Walk.
He said he wanted to start an organization called, Anton’s Hope and he wanted other kids to come along side him to also raise money for wells or for animals to be given to families. Ezekiel’s mom sold their goat’s milk as added income. It was huge for his family when he was young, living in his little village on the boarder of Ethiopia and Sudan.
So we listened to Anton’s vision, his desires and dreams. And now it’s been two years and somehow though we’re still gripping the concept…it’s so big, we’re overwhelmed. Quite honestly, we’re stalled. Ben and I don’t know how to step forward in it. We need to find someone to help.
So in the meantime, as Anton’s Hope is built, how do we include our children and work as a family in volunteering and giving time and hearts…for others?
How do we teach them in a way that it changes their world-view and isn’t simply something we go through the motions in doing, because “Mom and Dad said to?”
No, really…I’m asking.
I want your help.
My desire is something more than working at the Soup Kitchen once a month. I don’t think at this point, there would be an immense impact on them.
And I get that this is not about US…it’s about helping OTHERS.
I do. I get that.
I read Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love. I underlined practically the entire chapter on how we as (Christian) Americans look at short term missions trips more as a pat on the back, than anything else. Those are my words, not hers. She’s much more eloquent than I. And I agree with her.
I don't think we do it on purpose. But we do it all the same. There are trips I’ve read church bulletins or heard friends talk about that truly didn’t make sense to me. What the purpose of them going, truly was.
Short term missions, shouldn’t be a mini-vacation for us. It should be us jumping in with both feet, heart worn to pieces, down and dirty, ready to do the hard thing. Or whatever it is that NEEDS to be done.
Their needs, not our wants.
But at the same time, it IS about us because it’s about teaching our children that they CAN make a difference. That they MUST make a difference. And that their difference truly can change lives, in the name of Jesus.
How do we teach them to stop gripping the ledge out of fear or dare I say, indifference?
What can THEY do? We’ve been looking around a bit and hit wall after wall.
Our kids are too young to serve in the nursery at church, though they desperately want to. Our kids love kids. They’re too young to visit sick kids in the hospital, though they want badly to hug on those kids, too.
When Anton spent a week in the hospital, his fondest memory is the ability to push a button and a nurse came with a new box of Legos. When he got out, he decided he wanted to collect legos for other kids to have the same experience. "So they always have enough," he said. But apparently they have an organization that provides them.
So still we search for the thing. The right thing for our family.
We of course collect clothes and toys and formula for our friends to take to Ethiopia whenever another group goes over to visit the orphanages. We've collected shoes and soccer stuff for friends in Mexico. We fill shoeboxes at Christmas to be sent overseas.
We do things. But it's not a consistent thing.
Because more than an activity, we want to provide the opportunity to pop the bubble our kids live in. We want to provide an opportunity for a heart-change.
What are you doing with your kids??
How are you instilling this in your family??
Please. I'd really love to know!