We decided to take a family trip to the Fort Worth Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago. We enjoy doing those kinds of things together and the kids like picking out fresh, local produce for us to eat. It’s about a 45 minute drive from our house, mostly highway but the last few miles have traffic lights every 200 yards it seems.
As we sat at one of those many lights waiting for it to turn green we saw a man holding a sign that read “NEED FOOD. PLEASE HELP.” The light turned green and we continued on toward the market. As soon as we started moving Tori’s convicting voice came from the back and asked, “Why didn’t we help that man?” I am embarrassed to admit the next words out of my mouth because they were, “Because he was on the other side of the road.” I looked at Kayla (who had tears in her eyes at this point) and pulled into the next 7-Eleven parking lot to buy the man something to eat and drink.
I have thought about that morning and Tori’s question several times since . She didn’t over think anything (like us adults might) because she focused on two very important things. The man at the traffic light needed help and we didn’t help him. I love the clarity that children have. We adults complicate matters and analyse things to the point of inaction. Maybe that’s why Jesus told us that we had to be more like children.
We spend so much time focusing on the things that we do to help our kids grow and develop. Those are some of our responsibilities as parents. No doubt. But I want to spend some time focusing on the things my kids teach me because I have learned compassion, kindness and how to love selflessly from my small children.
So many times we have had foster placements arrive at our home mere hours after they were removed from their families. They are usually tired, hungry, confused and afraid. Kayla and I are usually around the table signing papers and talking to the case worker, etc. which doesn’t help with any anxiety the child may be feeling. But that’s OK because we have Tyler our “on-boarding” specialist. He has such compassion for kids in need that he instantly connects with them and you can see them start to relax as they settle into their new home.
Once Tyler climbs over their wall he unlocks the gate and that is when Brooklyn and Tori shine. They play with the newest kid in the family like they are all old friends. They show them the ropes and tell them about our family. The laugh and play and share their things. Not only do they share their things but they gladly share their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I admire their selflessness. They understand that the new kid is hurting and that he or she needs to feel loved and that they belong here.
Being a foster family has been an education in many ways. I am so proud of our kids because they get it. They are kind and loving because they are trying to help someone because they see the need and not for reward.
What are your kids teaching you?
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. – Matthew 18:1-3
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.