Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Raising Socially Responsible Children

There are many times during the week when I wonder how I am doing as a parent. At these times my daughters act out in ways I that make me question how well they are learning the lessons I am trying to teach them. But then there are other moments when they give me confirmation that those lessons are indeed being learned.

Yesterday offered one such moment. We went to Millennium Park to play in the fountains. I had packed a lunch, including snacks, for us, but I neglected to bring anything along for the homeless people we might encounter. I never have cash to offer, but I do usually try to have some food or boxed juices for them. As is expected in downtown Chicago, we passed several homeless people as we walked from the El station to the park. As we passed one man sitting quietly with a sign, Yaya said to me "Mom, I think that man is homeless." I replied, "I think you're right." Then she asked, "Can we give him something?" I said yes, and we stopped so I could dig through our bag to find our packaged snacks. We had two small granola bars. One was an extra I had packed to share with a friend who was meeting us, and the other was to be for me. I handed her the extra one, and she ran back to give it to him. It wasn't much, but he smiled and thanked her, and I could see how happy it made her. Then, as she ran back to me, the man yelled his thanks to me, too. I was quite proud of her. I think it's important for us a Christians to help those who have nothing, and she had learned the lesson. As we walked on, she added, "Mom, I don't think you should eat your granola bar. I think you should save it in case we see another homeless person." Needless to say, I didn't eat that granola bar.

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