Since returning to school and getting back into the swing of being a working mom again, I've been experiencing the highs and lows of the demands and blessings of putting my teacher hat back on. One of the blessings I've felt is from our church family, who through our children's ministry, is doing a fundraiser for Hannah's Hope, the orphanage where Jesse lived for his duration in Ethiopia. I'm touched beyond words that our extended family wants to do this. In turn, our children are decorating shoe boxes with Amharic words and Ethiopian colors and symbols to collect money to send to Hannah's Hope. How cool is that? There's a sweet video that our kiddos from our church put together connected to a touching story about a little boy who needed a pair of shoes and arrived at the doorstep of HH and his reaction to receiving his first pair of shoes, at the age of eight. It just shows how there's so much we can do, and it doesn't take a lot, to make a difference in someone's life.
Kids' hearts gently remind me of their untainted desire to want to live fully; in a way that I think some of us forget or are not aware of. Kids want to know that their lives matter. Although they love the "stuff" we give them, when presented with the possibility of reaching out to someone else, they are almost always quick to give an unwavering yes; rarely are there ifs, ands, or buts...often like adults do. Kids will give you more energy than you need to get a job done; just tell them what to do and why they're doing it!
Returning to the classroom mid year, I've explained that I took the time off to be with our little boy whom we adopted from Ethiopia. Most of my students tell me that that is "so cool." I also teach writing, and we use a lot of personal experiences as topics for writing and elaboration. I sometimes discuss the impact Ethiopia has had on me and how my heart wants to go back, as soon as possible! I would say the number one question my students have for me is this: How do I do that?
I am reminded that it is the adults who impose our desire for material things on kids. Ultimately, they want to be inspired to do great things with their lives; they want to be useful. When they see someone hurting, they want to know what they can do to help. They just need to know that it is possible to do something and then be encouraged to see that action through.
Africa, to me, has opened my eyes to the possibilities that await us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It is people, every day people, who meet the needs of those who are hurting there, usually not government programs (which, in my opinion, we have turned into a farce here in the US due to "our" sometimes inappropriate dependence upon...). It often is not someone with a doctoral degree or tons of wealth doing the serving; it is the every day person with a willing, courageous heart...every day heroes.
I believe our kids want to believe in heroes. They want to be one. They just want to know how and what they should do to accomplish this. Intrinsically, they know that life is more than a big house, nice clothes, and popularity. They just want to know that they can do it.
So, I'm so utterly thankful to be a part of a church who believes that our children can be someone's hero through the energy and love Christ has given them. I'm thankful to be reminded that, even in the wealthy community I teach in, kids, deep down, want to help others; and that they sincerely aren't as interested in the material things we impose upon them. It's refreshing to see this.
I ask for your prayers for our kiddos as they boldly step out into the world. Inspire them through your actions to see that life is more than keeping up with the Jones'. Show them the possibilities of how they can make a difference so their hearts ignite with a passion that extends beyond our shopping malls. Walk with them to encourage them to navigate the "how do I do thats."
Thanks so much, my friends!
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