Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Growing Up

Growing up is hard to do. Taevy is starting to take her own showers now. It is so cute to watch her struggle to get the shampoo all over her long hair and then rinse it out without getting the soap in her eyes. Oh to be young again, when growing up is learning to shampoo your own hair.

I'm having a few growing pains of my own these last few days. I have grown up to expect the best out of people--to assume that people will want to help other people. I assume that adults want to help vulnerable children, not only without profit but I also expect them to help vulnerable children at a personal sacrifice. What would Jesus do, right?

This last week I feel like I've been slapped in the face with the reality that most of the time adults want something out of "helping." It's not always money--we're above that in the US, right? But it's usually something. How many people donate a large sum of money without expecting some sort of recognition...a plaque on the wall...their name on a building...a thank you note to large donors at the end of the year...a tax deductible receipt.

In other parts of the world it's not a tax deductible receipt folks are after, but maybe a donation for whatever project they are passionate about. "Sure I want to see these malnourished children be adopted! But before we get to that, can't you spare just a few hundred (or thousand) dollars out of your rich American bank account as a donation to OUR project? If you can do that I'm sure we can find a way to stay out of your way so that these kids can be adopted. Otherwise, we might have to do what we can to keep these children in their horrible living environments."

That might sound harsh but that is exactly the kind of rubbish I'm dealing with right now. WHY do people have to worry about what THEY will get when a child leaves deplorable living conditions and joins a loving family? Can't they rest in the knowledge that they've done an honorable thing by helping a child? Can't they think about those "crowns in heaven" that they collect with their sacrifices?

I know we are a fallen world, and we are all sinners in the eyes of God. But I desperately want to think that there are more truly giving people on this earth--people that want nothing but to do the right thing--than there are people who think about what they will GET when they GIVE. I had a lady recently ask me for a tax deductible receipt for a small bag of clothes she was literally going to put on the curb the next day (I told her we could use them at Eban House in Ghana). Maybe that shouldn't rub me the wrong way, but it does.

Let us just give. JUST give. Give because it feels good. Challenge yourself to give in ways that nobody will even know you've done the giving. Show kindness randomly. Make anonymous donations. Give to organizations that might not have their non-profit status and therefore can't give you a tax deductible receipt for your gift. Give time and expect no recognition. Giving should BE the gift...to our hearts and souls.



Sue 11:10 AM  

"Let us just give. JUST give. Give because it feels good. Challenge yourself to give in ways that nobody will even know you've done the giving. Show kindness randomly. Make anonymous donations."

AMEN. I could not agree more.


Heather 1:08 PM  

I think in answer to your comment/question, we must look at the role we play as parents. My child is not perfect, and I do not expect her to be. I expect that she will make mistakes all of her life, just as I do. Does my heart hurt and am I disappointed when she hurts someone's feelings at school? Absolutely, butI still love her. And my hope for her as her parent is that she will learn from her mistakes. That she will see the hurt that she caused, be sorry for it, and try to not do that again. That perhaps she will see the reaction of her other friends, and realize that they do not approve, or learn better ways to handle herself by watching them. My child is stubborn, so it may take several times for her to learn her lesson, but regardless, I love her no matter what she does.

It's hard for us to remember that the people that are causing hurt, the ones that are selfish, the ones that block a child from joining a loving family, they are the children of God, the ultimate parent. And I believe that He wants the same for His children. He knows we are not perfect, does not expect us to be, but He hopes we learn from our mistakes. Perhaps even learning by watching how others react to selfish behavior, or by how others choose to live their lives, or how others behave in the same situation.

Unfortunately, that doesn't make our hurt any less for the missed opportunities for children, families, and good. But hopefully it can help us understand our own role.

Yoli 3:30 PM  

Anita, you are a sweet soul. I am glad those kids have you as a champion. Just be there for them, it is all you can do. I know very well from where you speak from. Everyone wants something in return. Like Mother Theresa said, just love them anyway.