15 Aug

Raising Kids Who Get It

It might just look like a dented tin box tied with a broken balloon…

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…but it’s not.

This week we bid farewell to one of our Compassion kids. His letters with his perfectly beautiful penmanship and his dreams of university and the future have been a very real part of our family’s life for a few years. Our dear, William, has grown up and graduated from the program. And with his milestone comes the end of our relationship.

And while we talk of strategies to remember him — where to hang his picture and leaving his prayer stick in our jar — it is time to move on.

There are more children.

There is a HUGE need.

And we are a Compassion family.

Huddled around the computer screen we search for our new “family member”.

A girl this time.

Ethiopia.

Perhaps someone with a September birthday (since 3 out of 4 people in this house belong to that club).

And we find her. Simegn.

From her picture onscreen her eyes captivate me. She’s the one.

Her birthday is just a couple weeks after the kids. The same year as our daughter. She’s the one.

As I push all the right buttons on the screen to make her “ours,” the chatter begins around me.

She’ll need a birthday package. (something special with pictures, letters, stickers, a verse to pray over her and more)

More than an hour later he appears.

That dented box in his hands.

“I’ve been putting this together for her.”

That girl.

Our girl.

“I know she is poor.”

The tears that trail down his cheeks as I begin to tell him that we can’t send the box surprise. Paper stuff only I explain.

He tries to negotiate with me…to change the rules. Offers to pay to send it. And sobs until he can barely breath.

We offer other alternatives. We could save it for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes or put it in the foster peanuts bedroom.

He shakes his head.

He won’t let us see what’s in the box that is now hanging limply in his hand.

It takes almost an hour for him to quit moping.

Later after playing outside, his sister whispers to me the details of what is in the box.

And I tear up.

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It is his treasure….what’s important to him offered to another.

All those moments of our children begging for toys at Target and making Christmas lists in February flash through my mind. We’ve planned lessons and looked for teachable moments. I’ve sat with other mothers and lamented about how hard it is to raise kids who think of others….kids who get it.

And then, this little dented box whispers of little boy grace.

He gets it.

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