On Fridays I usually answer a readers question, but today I have a guest post. If you have a question you would like me to answer you can contact me.
This guest post is by my wonderful wife – Jeri. Jeri writes about family travel over at Help Me Travel Cheap. Having flown around 75,000 miles either pregnant or with kids, she is sort of an authority on flying while pregnant and entertaining kids on long layovers.
It’s embarrassing. It’s eye-opening. It happens way too often.
My children’s hearts out-give mine.
When your 4 and 2 year old children insist on driving someone home instead of making them walk because the sun is too hot (even though nearly everyone walks here!), it’s hard to say no.
Every week a sweet Christian friend of ours works at our house – cleaning, babysitting, and doing yard work. My children have grown so attached to her and love her.
I couldn’t say no a few days ago when they insisted (in front of her, of course) that we drive her home. We try to be fair employers, and even give her bus fare – which she can save by walking, or use to ride the bus, at her discretion.
But, when they insisted, it made me consider the condition of my heart. I care about her, but they cared enough to ask so she wouldn’t have to walk in the hot sun.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
We have a habit in our home of giving toys away when we get new ones. I usually try to notice which toys the kids don’t play with as often so we can get rid of those first. I also let them assist me in the process. But a few times when they’ve chosen the toys they’d like to give away, I’ve caught myself thinking, “Oh, no! Not that one. Your aunt got you that!” Or, “That’s the coolest toy we have! We can’t give that one away.”
Meanwhile, the kids are sitting there saying, “I think so-and-so would really like this one,” or “We don’t need this many cars.”
Heart check again.
Or the time when Hannah was just 3 years old. She came and asked me for a plastic bag. I gave her one. A few moments later she brought it back and said that it wasn’t big enough.
So, I swapped and gave her a bigger one.
Minutes later, she came out of her room with that plastic bag overflowing with toys and books to give to a girl at church who was celebrating her 15th birthday.
I nearly burst into tears.
This time, I kindly explained that maybe a 15-year-old might like something different than these things and we could work on something else.
But, it still made me check my heart. Would I (without a second thought) pack up a bag full of my belongings to give to someone – even if I knew they needed it more than I did?
Another time, my 3 year old and I were taking a walk down the road together. We saw some men carrying a pig tied to a huge stick. I knew where they were headed – to roast that thing and have a feast, which is quite a treat here. But my three year old was intrigued and concerned.
“What are they doing with that pig?” she asked.
“They’re probably going to cook it and eat it,” I answered.
“Some people don’t have enough food, so they have to eat pigs?” she wondered.
Her response was thought-provoking. She sounded concerned about the fact that people might not have something good to eat. (Later, I can explain to her that pork is actually considered a delicacy here!)
As we get older, for some reason we start loving our money and stuff more and more, and seemingly start caring less and less about people.
I find myself wishing more and more that I had a child’s heart that so easily gives and cares about the daily needs of others.
I am trying to teach my children to give freely, but when they actually do it, it reminds me of my own selfishness.
Living in a place where we are considered upper class has allowed God to stretch and mold my selfish heart. Sometimes I feel like I’ve come a long way. And then my children, without even realizing it, teach me more. Needless to say, my heart still needs some stretching.
The kingdom of God belongs to those such as these …
Editors note: In case you are new to this blog, Jeri lives in Papua New Guinea.
What do you do when your kids are more generous than you? Have you ever been challenged to give more because of your kids?