Many times being the mom and teacher I am, I am always wondering how and what I am teaching my kids. Are my three at home learning to be good, young Christian men and women with kind hearts? Are my students at school learning what they'll need to not only survive, but hopefully to succeed and support their families? How can I help Olivia with her struggles in Math? What do I do to hep Braeden understand that although he may not like it, school is important? What will help Liam overcome his many delays in learning?
But oftentimes I forget, or overlook, the lessons I learn from my kids themselves.
Friday was one of those learning days for me.
Liam and Olivia had neurology appointments in Chicago Friday. They weren't until the afternoon, so we stopped by a couple thrift stores in the morning, had lunch, and then went to the hospital. During this time Liam cried and screamed and slept, so I'm very glad we had the day off already! He complained mightily about his ear hurting, oh the joy. We stopped for medicine while we were out which helped some thank goodness.
This year Olivia has begun buying her own clothes. I've taught her over the years all about thrift stores, clearance racks, and buying ahead for the next season. She gets amazed at regular prices and I love seeing the bargain hunter in her emerge! :) As she heads to middle school next year I've told her for a while that we would start this winter with her purchasing her own clothes. I'm going to give her a small stipend twice a year (Feb and Aug) for clothes only and that she could buy a couple "expensive things" or work it out to have bought ahead and from thrift stores as she'd like. Since we were going to the thrift stores Friday I gave her the first stipend a week early. She did AWESOME! She scored some amazing deals! And she came out with two BIG bags of clothes for just under $50. Some of her buys: Aero jeans for $2, an Aero shirt for $2, a LEATHER duster type coat from Wet Seal for 90 CENTS. Awesome! (The sleeves really aren't longer than her hands, not sure why she pulled her hands in. But it is a TAD big and will be great next year!)
Their appointments were good, and I got some information that may be very helpful and enlightening in an area of Olivia we've wondered about for years. Can I just say I LOVE their new Neurologist!!!??? I will post more about that at another time.
On our way home from the appointments, we were headed back to the interstate. Stopped at a light with lots of traffic, a man was walking the "aisle" between cars, holding a sign asking for help or handouts as he was homeless.
As an adult, I find myself skeptical in these situations. Is he REALLY in need? What will the money REALLY be used for? And then at the same time I WANT to give him money. I think of the money we spent at lunch and how we could've made some cheaper choices and shared with him. Or how he could've spent the same on a small bag of groceries. I ponder how my choice to give or not to give affects my kids and teaches them. I wonder if they've even noticed. And yet, I have no cash, so it's really a mute point. I have nothing but a few pennies.
And then Olivia's mouth opens. And I think here it comes, she's going to ask me why I'm not giving him money. But she doesn't. Instead Olivia says, "Mom, can I give him some money?"
Her money. Not her clothing money that she was handed this morning. But the money she earned from her report card. Which she was upset with herself over because her grades weren't the greatest and she didn't get much.
As she digs it out, she says, "I just feel like I've spent so much money on myself today. I need to think of others and spend some to help him."
Ended up that by that time he was WAY far back and the light was changing, so she was unable to give him anything at all. On part of the drive home, Olivia talked on the phone to Grandma. Her conversation consisted of telling Grandma all about her day and then she said, "But there was one really bad thing." and she told of the homeless man and not being able to give him the money like she wanted.
She wasn't questioning his need.
She was SEEING a need and wanting, craving, to meet that need.
She was being God's tool in that moment.
Unfortunately she wasn't able to give him the money, but instead God used her willingness to ask and not question to teach ME. My do I have a lot to learn.