School started yesterday and all three boys were off for their new adventures. It was bitterweet. They seem so old and some days I do wish the brick on the head thing would work. We were eager to join together around the dinner table to hear all about the big first day.
No matter what the big daily news, it seems there is no exception to the rule of someone in our party of four kids complaining about dinner. It is more than annoying… I bet you can relate! Last night it was Carter who would not down his smoothie and just went on and on about the gross factor of the entire dinner. Hayden first made a snide comment and then we heard these words fly from his mouth. “Carter you have not been to Korah.” We were all silent. I turned and said, “what did you just say?” I was processing and trying to choose my repsonse carefully. Honestly Hayden’s comment was music to my ears even though it was not his place to parent Carter.
Hayden then said this, “Carter what seems gross to you, others would die for. I saw people with my own two eyes who would eat that with no complaint and I am sick of listening to you complain.” I almost started to sob. I held back the tears and quietly acknowledged Hayden. Our table was briefly silent and Carter did go on to choke down some of the smoothie.
Last February Hayden joined me on a trip to Ethiopia. He saw what I saw and expierienced both extreme joy and grinding poverty and heartache. He learned that hunger and loneliness mean so much more when they have a name and a face. Not every child is ready for such lessons at a young age but Hayden was and sometimes the impact takes many months and years to ruminate. Perhaps the same is true for adults. We need to go and see for ourselves the true faces of hunger and learn the names and circumstances of the widowed and the orphaned.
The dinner conversation was proof… Never underestimate the value of teaching our children through example. Show them the way and show them the faces of need. Give them the chance to serve those who are marginalized, destitute or orphaned. My son gave his shoes to a child outside of our hotel in Ethiopia and in that exchange I did not see pity… instead I witnessed HOPE. There is HOPE in sponsorhsip that builds relationships. There is HOPE in funding a child’s education and spiritual mentoring. There is HOPE in going, seeing, learning, hugging and praying for the sweet children who wait and there is HOPE in showing my child the needs of others just like him, are so great.
I wonder what tonight’s dinner hour will bring?