Teaching children gratitude and generosity is so important to their journey into adulthood. As a child, I was blessed to have parents who lived as people with grateful and generous hearts. Even when they had little, they shared.
It was not unusual to have extra faces sitting at the dinner table. As children, visiting the nursing home was a regular thing to do for my brother and me. My dad would cut wood and take truck bed loads to those in need. He would plant a huge garden and invite the community to enjoy the fruits of his labors – he grew the best tomatoes and gave them away by the bucket loads. My parents were always looking for opportunities to help others and to teach us to care for those around us.
My mother is still teaching me. She cooks and delivers food to a neighbor most every night. Even though Dad is no longer with us, Mom visits the local nursing home every Sunday afternoon – I know not to call between certain hours. She cooks and delivers special pies and cakes – just because – to bring joy to someone else. She collects and washes boxes of clothes for Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) children and then drives two to three hours to deliver them to our campuses.
Mom just turned 85 years old and is still teaching me the importance of living a life of gratitude and generosity. When you live with gratitude you learn to be grateful. When you live with generosity you learn to be givers. Children learn what we live. Beware parents and grandparents: children are watching you!
Ian, Kira, Madi, and Katelyn all have something in common. They are all children under the age of 13. And they have all learned gratitude and generosity. Their big hearts inspire us to be better people because of their caring attitudes. They are children on mission to show BCH’s children that someone cares.
Most would agree that birthdays are for eating cake and ice cream, and getting gifts. Five-year-old Ian chose a different way to celebrate his birthday. He asked all of his friends attending his party not to bring him presents. Instead, Ian asked his family and friends to bring gifts for the boys and girls living at Broyhill Home. This is a little boy with a big, big heart.
Kira is 10 years old. While children all across North Carolina were shopping for new school clothes last August, Kira had something else on her mind. She decided that every child in BCH’s care should have a new backpack. Kira organized a drive to collect bookbags and at the end of the drive, she delivered 81 to Kennedy Home in Kinston. While there, Kira prayed for the residents and sang a worship song for them.
While other girls Madi’s age were enjoying warmer weather last spring, Madi was farming. Yes, she was farming. Madi was digging in the dirt, planting seeds, nurturing their growth, and then harvesting vegetables. It is a labor of love for Madi. The 12-year-old has been raising and selling vegetables to help children at BCH since she was nine and has raised more than $3,755. She embodies the definition of generosity and inspires us all.
Katleyn’s smile lights up a room and has definitely been a light in the darkness for many of the children in BCH’s care. Like Ian, Katelyn chose to celebrate her birthday in a unique way. Instead of asking for gifts, Katelyn asked for shoes – what girl doesn’t want more shoes. However Katelyn did not ask for shoes for herself, she asked for shoes for the children at Mills Home in Thomasville. In Katelyn’s world, ask and receive became a reality. Katelyn’s friends gave 47 pairs of shoes in honor of her birthday.
Who will share Jesus with hurting children? Precious children filled with gratefulness and generosity like Ian, Kira, Madi, and Katelyn will.
There are many ways children can help children in our care. Consider one of the examples you have just read. Or lead your child or grandchild to involve their Sunday school class, mission group or classmates at school to help during BCH’s annual food drive in April.
May is filled with Friends of Children workday opportunities for all ages at many of BCH’s locations. Vacation Bible School dedicated offerings are another great opportunity for children to lead friends to help children in need. Call now and ask for a BCH mission speaker to come and share during your VBS.
From the hearts of children, we can all be inspired. Look for ways you can make a difference in the life of a child in 2017. If I can help, call me at 336-474-1230 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.