Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Compassion and a chicken sandwich

The kids and I were headed to Chick-fil-A for lunch last week and passed a homeless man on the corner clutching a tattered sign. While munching on our chicken sandwiches a few minutes later, we hatched a plan to buy the man lunch.  Excited, the kids jumped in the car and we headed back to find him.  Pulling up, Connor rolled down the window and said, "Here sir, we bought you some lunch."  For a significant moment their eyes locked  and the man responded, "Thank you son.  God bless you."  As the window quietly slid up, I I saw the tears slip down Connor's cheeks, dripping off the end of his nose.  The kids were moved with compassion and the sudden stark realization of all they have.  My tears were from my mom heart as I watched my prayers for compassionate hearts being played out in front of me.

Living in America with all its blessings can make teaching compassion to our children a difficult thing.  We talk about the poverty in Africa, often when saying something parental like "You'd better eat that dinner.  There are starving children in Africa who have nothing to eat."  Why do we say that?  Probably because our parents said it to us, but what does it mean to our kids?  It's a foreign and abstract concept.  Is it true?  Yes, but until they've looked into the eyes of one of those kids, until they have seen first hand how the majority of the world lives, they can't understand on the level they need to; the level that moves them beyond seeing/hearing to doing.  

As parents we pray for opportunities for our children to see and truly understand;  understand to the point of being moved to DO SOMETHING.  Last week poverty in America took on new meaning for my kids thanks to a chicken sandwich.

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