Last week I read a blog post about having “the talk” with kids to teach them about compassion as they are heading back to school (I highly recommend you give it a read). The next morning I brought it up with my kids on the way to school. We talked about people who need help and how God gives us a feeling in our hearts to help them, and that it’s really important not to ignore that feeling. We talked (again) about how we are really blessed to have food and shelter and clothes and toys, and that we share what we have with other people – always giving away things we don’t need to people who can use it.
The next day, we were driving in Minneapolis to go to a grocery store far away from our neighborhood. As we were pulling into the parking lot, my son pointed out a man holding a sign asking for money. Actually, I don’t remember if it asked for money or simply “help” – either way, Alex said emphatically “Mom, we should buy him something!”I asked him what he had in mind, and at first he thought maybe some bananas? I suggested maybe bananas might be hard to carry around but perhaps we could buy him a sandwich. Alex liked that idea. So while we were in the store, Alex found a deli sandwich for the man.
As we were leaving, the man was no longer standing in the same place. My heart sunk – Alex wouldn’t be able to give him the sandwich. But as we pulled away, we noticed another man with a sign. We rolled down the window, asked the man if he would like a sandwich and gave it to him.
Later I asked Alex why he wanted to buy the man food, and he told me it was what we should do because the man needed help. I asked if he had the feeling in his heart and he said yes. We hugged and I told him how proud of him I am – that he listens to his heart and shows compassion for other people.
I don’t know if having “the talk” the day before made a difference in this situation or not, as I’ve witnessed him help many other people time and time again. What I do know is that this young man has a very special heart and that he will continue to make a difference in this world if he keeps listening to it throughout his life. Watching him grow up, and being his mom, is such a privilege and a blessing.
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