Life Lessons: Compassion

We all want our children to grow up to be warm and caring people. We want them to think about others and not just themselves. To be compassionate.

Our family had a chance to be compassionate this week.

At church on Sunday, our minister mentioned he knows a man, we'll call him Tim, who is homeless. He's known Tim for many years and Tim has had a hard life, some of his own doing and some not. Tim is recently out of prison and has lined up social services - food stamps, health care and the like. The catch? Tim needs his birth certificate to receive these services. He requested his birth certificate and it was promised that it would arrive no later than September 27th. It is still not here.

Tim needed a place to stay where he would be inside. He was sleeping outside on a friend's back porch and a snow storm was coming (now arrived - and did it arrive!)

I talked to the girls after church on Sunday about Tim staying at our house. Stella thought that would be ok, Sandis wasn't so sure. To be fair, she wouldn't have wanted our minister staying with us either - she doesn't like strangers. I talked to Brian and he agreed that the system was pushing this man, who was trying to do everything right, in the completely wrong direction.

Monday came and Stella was really worried about Tim and where he was staying, if he would have to be out in the snow. She wanted me to be sure he was ok. I called our church but the minister was out.

He called back Tuesday. We had 1.5 hrs before the Girl Scout meeting and had to get ready, run to church to meet Tim, run back home and finish GS preparations. That evening, Tim came to stay with us.

Tim has been extremely grateful and polite. He keeps to himself and spends his days out at various appointments. He has slept at our home 2 nights, 2 very cold and snowy nights. He will probably have one more night with us before moving to a different home that is located in town, which will be much more convenient for him.

I am grateful we've been able to help. I'm glad the children have been able to see how you can help others, and actually see that other person we are helping. It is important that they know that no matter how little you have, you can still help in some way and make a difference. That is not WHY we did this, but I can see their compassion growing from this experience.

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As a side note, in case you are worried, no I have NOT left the children alone around Tim or with him in the house. Not at all. I do know Tim's reason for being in prison, which I will not share, but it was not violent, child or sexual in nature.

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