As a parent, you do your best to teach your child right and wrong, to make the right decisions, and of course, how to treat others. This is a huge challenge that every parent knows.
One habit I have is trying to give what I can to a homeless person when we are able to. I don’t do this to feel good about myself, I don’t do it to later tell people about, it’s just the right thing to do. Important. I only mention it here because of the little story I wanted to share. You see, my son sees me do this from time to time and over the years he’s asked “Daddy, why did you give them money/food.” The response my wife and I give him has been consistent the entire time “because when someone needs help, you should always try your best to help them when you’re able to.”
Today my wife called me at work after she has picked him up from school and made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things. She wanted to tell me about something that had happened while they were shopping. Apparently, there was a woman outside, a mother, with three of her children. She had a sign that said she was looking for work and needed any help anyone could offer. My son saw that sign and here was their conversation:
Son: “Momma, can we give her money?”
Wife: “I’m sorry, I don’t actually have any cash to give her” side note: my wife had also told him he could get a treat at the store
Son: “Well Momma, instead of getting me a treat, can we get something to help them?”
Wife: “Yes, we can definitely do that”
So, she took him shopping and got the items we needed, and then he went and picked out four ‘lunchables’ and four bottles of water. This was what he wanted to give them. A meal. They walked outside and found that the woman and her children were not there anymore. My wife tells me, he was instantly heartbroken and began to cry. He really wanted to give them what he had picked out. So, they put their things in the car and she walked him around the shopping complex carrying the bag of what he bought them, to see if they could be found. Luckily, my wife and son did find them, and he was able to give them the meal he had picked out. His heart was set on helping them the best he could, and he accomplished just that.
When my wife told me this, my heart swelled with happiness. Our son and a small act of selfless compassion. Watching the seeds of compassion take root, as a parent, we must continue to nurture that, to help it grow.
originally posted on Into My Own — June 2011