Parents (and any other influential adults in a child’s life) shape and mold the outlook and view on humankind, of these future grown-ups. What are we teaching our children? Talk is cheap. Our actions lead, and make deep impressions that will never leave the minds and hearts of our young ones.
My husband, daughter and I are blessed to be surrounded by a family and community of people who are choosing to be helpers and defenders, and in turn, are raising their children to be the same. These people inspire us every single day.
This morning I heard the story of a waiter who stood up for a special needs child named “Milo”. Milo’s family was eating at a restaurant, in this waiters section. The father of another family being waited on by this particular gentleman asked to be moved to a table away from Milo. When the waiter heard the father making derogatory remarks about his young friend Milo (to his family seated with him at the table), the waiter asked him to leave the restaurant.
The news story made me think of the contrast of people who raised this waiter to stand up for children like Milo vs. those who influenced the man who made such hateful remarks against a young boy with special needs. My husband and I want to be the kind of parents who raise defenders, not assailants of the helpless.
We believe that in order to bring up brave children who will choose to come to the aid of the helpless (instead of join the mocking crowd, or cower away in fear), we must illustrate and demonstrate compassion in our own lives. We can talk all we like about helping others, we can read about it. We can even pray about it. But none of that means anything until we ACT upon what we say we believe. We must lead by example. The eyes of our children are always watching us.
I’m confident that many humanitarians, missionaries and compassionate leaders had parents or close mentors who strongly influenced their views of humanity. Here is a little background on four heroes who rallied around the cause of those in desperate need. (And I’m certain there are countless more like them)!
Martin Luther King Jr.
“The King children grew up in a secure and loving environment. Martin Sr. was more the disciplinarian, while his wife’s gentleness easily balanced out the father’s more strict hand. Though they undoubtedly tried, Martin Jr.’s parents couldn’t shield him completely from racism. Martin Luther King Sr. fought against racial prejudice, not just because his race suffered, but because he considered racism and segregation to be an affront to God’s will. He strongly discouraged any sense of class superiority in his children which left a lasting impression on Martin Jr.”
“It was her family’s generosity, care for the poor and the less fortunate, that made a great impact on young Mother Teresa’s life. By age 12, she had made up her mind; she realized that her vocation was aiding the poor.”
“Her parents were deeply devoted to Christ and raised their children to love and serve God.”
Corrie ten Boom
“Mama’s love had always been the kind that acted itself out with soup pot and sewing basket. But now that these things were taken away, the love seemed as whole as before. She sat in her chair at the window and loved us. She loved the people she saw in the street– and beyond: her love took in the city, the land of Holland, the world. And so I learned that love is larger than the walls which shut it in.”
I pray that we will grow to be more like Jesus, who revealed the Loving, Helping, Defending and Just Character of God, when He walked here on earth 2000 years ago. The Bible says “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless”. May we be people who are loving and caring for “the least of these”. May we teach our children what PURE and right “religion” looks like, through the use of our talents, time and resources. Let us raise men and women who are gentle defenders of the weak, helpless, and hurting people in our world.
~ Justina Dee