Tag Archives: Children

The Compassion of a Child

I’m sitting in my home along the SE US coast, waiting for Hurricane Matthew to pay us a visit.  Am I worried?  Not particularly, though I did feel a strong sense that we needed to do more to prepare for this storm than we typically do for others.  We’re prepared to this point, though we’ll have a bit more to do come Thursday and Friday.  Worst case scenario, we pack the kids and the cats into two cars and head west; the cars are fueled sufficiently.

This morning as the girls and I tracked the storm, we saw that some people weren’t so lucky.  As we pulled up the tracking map online, we saw that at that moment, the storm was right over Haiti and eastern Cuba, with a course dead-straight to the Bahamas.  While this is devastating for all these island peoples in the Caribbean, our hearts really went out to the Haitians.  It’s like they can’t catch a break!

So we prayed.  Then H, my seven-year-old who’s diligently saving up for a pink sparkly boat about the size of a massive cruise ship, started outlining her plan for rescuing people in such situations.  This plan involves using her boat to take them to safety on her own private island, complete with three hospitals, just to make sure everyone gets the care they need.  (I guess she’d need more than one island, so she’d have options depending on which direction the storms are going.)

As the pink sparkly boat is still quite a ways off, H spontaneously thought about what she could do now.  Her solution?  She wants to donate some of her shoes and clothes to children in Haiti who’ll lose everything in this storm.  I immediately grabbed my phone and texted the children’s minister at church, asking if there’s any reception for those sorts of donations.  No, but there are organizations, like Hope Changes Everything, who already have boots on the ground and need money to supply the Haitians with exactly what they need, be it clothes, food, or housing.  (That link will take you right to their site, and you can donate there.)

Our minister suggested a yard sale.  Truthfully, I don’t relish the idea of putting together a yard sale, but the weather will be good again, and there are a lot of things we can get rid of for this cause.  While I don’t look forward to the work and administration of doing this, I’m excited, because this is something H can lead off on.

I am understandably so proud of my daughter for having a heart that wants to reach out to people who have been so devastated by this storm.  More, though, is how she’s overcoming her own fears of the storm in thinking about others.  All morning, we talked together about what we need to do to make sure our home and property are ready for the storm.  I presented it as, “We need to be prepared, but we’re gonna be OK.  Worrying won’t change the storm at all.”  Still, though…  She is seven, and she’s not so thrilled with regular ol’ thunderstorms, let alone a hurricane due for a direct hit.  Once she started thinking about how to help others, she forgot to be afraid.

H is such a good teacher, even reminding her pastor momma about some truths that are easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

  • We need a change in perspective sometimes.  Things look challenging for us this coming weekend, but they’re much worse for thousands upon thousands of other people who have no evacuation routes and limited resources.
  • When we’re afraid, it helps to think about others and become unafraid.  I find it also helps remembering who controls the storm.
  • What we have can be used to serve other people.  This girl has plans for her life, plans that involve a good deal of education and helping vulnerable creatures.  Yet, her heart remains for people and desiring to help them.

The Bible tells us so many things about children.  “A little child shall lead them.”  “You must have the faith of a child.”  And the Psalmist writes, “From the lips of infants and children, You have ordained praise.”  We oh, so busy adults need to stop sometimes and listen.  The still small voice of God I’m hearing this week isn’t coming from a gentle breath of wind, but from the lips of a little girl.


Helping Children Soar

Yesterday, we got to church for our weekly groups early enough that my younger daughter had much-loved time to play on the playground.  She wanted me to support her across the monkey bars.  WOW, did that test how well my knee rehab is going!  (Quite strong and stable, given that I was standing and walking backwards on loose beach-type sand holding 45 pounds.)  My daughter loves to swing, and, sure enough, she hopped on the swing, asked me to push her, and informed me, “I want to go high!”

I pulled her back and gave her the initial pushes.  As every parent knows, though, when you’re pushing a child on the swings, there’s not but so high a parent can push their child.  The parent can start them, but then the child has to pump her legs, and truly, her height is completely up to her at this point.  The child pumps and rises, eventually getting to the point where the chains start to go slack and she can see over the bar at the top.  She can lean back in the swing, letting her hair flow back and down in the breeze, or the more adventurous can decide to jump out of the swing at this point (with hopefully no broken bones).  The point is, though, once the child takes responsibility for her own swinging altitude, she can then choose what to do with it.

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On her way to the sky

As I stood with my daughter, watching her swing, I thought about a situation a friend is going through with his daughter.  The daughter’s mom think she’s “keeping her safe” by doing everything for her, way more than a near-teen needs to have done.  As a result, this young lady is lazy and slack about her self-care, especially pertaining to her medical needs.  You see, this mom doesn’t know that it’s time to stop pushing and time to trust her daughter to pump her legs.

Watching a child getting crazy-high on the swings is a bit heart-stopping:  Will she fall?  Will the chain mysteriously snap?  What happens if she loses her grip?  Answer:  She’ll get hurt, but likely survive.  In the meantime, there are squeals and giggles carried on the wind, fading and growing with the Doppler effect as she goes back and forth.  There’s the memories of exhilaration of being a girl on the swing, feeling that “oh my gosh!” as you remember seeing the chains go slack and feeling like you were so high.  And you realize, you just can’t take that away from her, because this child will likely never fall out of a swing, but she’ll experience a million moments of soaring thrills as her legs pump her higher and higher and higher and she leans back to feel the wind in her hair.

Sure, a child is safer being kept close under mother’s protective wing, but she’ll also never learn what she can do on her own.  That child will swing as long as she’s in mom’s reach, but she’ll never soar if mom won’t let go of her.  Sadly, the child will never learn she actually can soar.  As parents, there has to come a time when we let go of our children, trusting them to hang onto the chains, but only as long as they want to.  This is the only way we will empower our children to rise up to be all that they possibly can be.

The Grace of God, part 1

DTB of Dinner and a Suit #9

DTB of Dinner and a Suit #9 (Photo credit: digitaltourbus)

The call came at around 9:30 yesterday morning while I was in the shower.  My phone rang, and my first two thoughts were, Whoever it is can leave a message, and, This is why I don’t like having my phone in the bathroom.  I got out and saw that I had missed two calls, one from my husband, and it was he who’d left a message.  The message was short and alarmingly blunt:  “I just totaled my [work] van.”  What???  Was he OK?  If he was calling, then he must be fine.  When I finally got back in touch with him, he answered the rest of my questions.  He was OK, just had some abrasion burns from the airbag.  It wasn’t his fault.  No one was hurt.  Then he filled in the details.

He was driving to one of his stops, his van loaded with lawn care chemicals (we did the math, and it was about 1000 pounds of chemicals!).  That doesn’t include the weight of the van, his rider, or the rest of the equipment (the tank itself, the hose, his blower, etc.).  A woman in an SUV pulled out in front of him; she admitted herself that she saw the truck in front of him, but not him.  He had about 20 feet to stop while going 55 mph, which made an accident inevitable, even without the load he was carrying.  He t-boned the SUV, and she did two 360s before hitting the white pickup she’d seen.

I found out after the initial call that the woman had her two children in the SUV with her.  Her vehicle was totaled, too.  Her axle was pushed out the other side and her windows shattered.  She’d wisely put her children in the center and passenger side seats in the back, both secure in their car seats.

It was by the grace of God that no one was hurt.  Not the woman, not the driver of the other truck, not her children and not my husband.  Such a nasty accident with no serious injuries.  Fortuitously, there was an ambulance waiting at the intersection right behind the woman which was able to respond immediately to the accident.

Compassion fills my heart for this woman.  Sure, she was at fault; she failed to yield to oncoming traffic, plus she was driving with an expired license.  Her insurance company will have to pay for three vehicles, and her rates will skyrocket.  I don’t know how her husband handled the news, but I hope he hugged her and said, “I’m just glad that the kids and you are alright.  We’ll deal with the rest.”  At some point, it either has hit her or will hit her that, due to her mistake, one or both of her kids could’ve been killed.  I don’t know about this family’s financial situation.  Maybe they’re living deep in debt, paycheck to paycheck, and this will just be another blow?

But, no matter what damaged occurred, the important thing is, there were no serious injuries.  The children were likely shaken and luckily not stirred.  No lives were lost.  That makes it a good day.

Stay tuned for part 2, in which I’ll share the ways God worked through other people to bless me yesterday as the day wore on.