I haven’t written much about my kids lately, so I figure this is as good a time as any. Besides, I’m much too tired at the moment to come up with a witty or piquant article on anything else.
The other day, we were all sitting at the breakfast table. I think this may have been the first time in a while. I’m not much of a morning person, which means that I’m only just barely functional most mornings when my husband is getting ready for work. The kids like to get up early, but not as early as their dad (most of the time), and J doesn’t have to be at the bus stop until 8:45. But for whatever reason, we were all up early enough to enjoy breakfast together.
My husband had his phone out and was checking out a couple of blog posts that had come up in the previous few days. One of them was this gem of a cartoon from Naked Pastor:
Since my husband and I mostly have the same friends on social sites but radically different taste in blogs, we don’t usually share with each other. But my husband really enjoyed that particular cartoon. He leaned across the table to show me. Naturally, the kids were curious and wanted to see it. Seeing no harm, my husband showed them.
As one might expect, they didn’t exactly get it, at least not the way it was intended. My husband, always the teacher, asked what they thought it meant. J said he thought the driver of the car was selfish. But it was S’s reply that struck me. She said, “That man is a robber.”
I believe she thought maybe he had robbed a bank and was in trouble, but I heard layers in her words. I thought about what it meant to be a robber, and how it doesn’t just mean actively holding up a convenience store. We can rob G-d in hundreds of ways. We can withhold our money, certainly, as in the cartoon. But we can also withhold our time and our other resources.
I don’t just mean that we don’t spend enough time praying and reading the Bible. I suppose that’s likely to be true, but prayer and Bible reading are emphasized enough at church. I mean that we fail to give our time making a difference. We talk a lot about how we can do small things that take little time, like donating supplies or even writing a check to support a missionary. And those are great things to do. But we limit ourselves when that’s all we expect. I don’t doubt the impact of little things, but the little things should be just the beginning.
My hope is that my kids can grow into the kind of people who give of themselves beyond money, beyond the small stuff. Of course I hope they make a difference with the small things, but I also hope that those tiny impacts lead to a desire to do more. Not out of a sense of obligation, or a belief that they are earning brownie points in heaven (or even heavenly treasure). It should be born out of love for G-d, love for other people, and a desire to see G-d’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.
Darn. I guess I couldn’t just stick to a cute story about the kids after all.