Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Giving Heart

I had a moment with Judah during the week.
We were watching the news as a family while eating dinner – which almost never happens in our house because of all the violence and death and bad news that you tend to be bombarded with. But, I’d been a bit out of touch with what was going on in our world, and thought it might be a good idea to play catch up.

The kids were talking about bacon and trying to out-sing eachother in nursery rhymes; and a story came on about babies and young children dying in Yemen from starvation. Dave and I watched these small, skeletal babies in hospital, unable to keep any food down, and their mothers, their hearts breaking, desperate to prevent their children from slowly starving to death. No food, no milk, no jobs, and no money.

During the piece, Judah stropped singing, and watched intently; there was a moment where I almost got up and turned it off, but I didn’t. And when it finished, his questions began.

Why are those babies so sick?
Why can’t his mummy give him food so that he can be strong?
Does his daddy have a job?
Why doesn’t his Grannie give him food?
Is the doctor fixing him?
Why are the people fighting where he is?

Dave and I very slowly and carefully answered his queries, and explained the best way that we could - which is a tricky thing when your listener is only nearly four years old. I didn’t want him to be frightened, or to be overwhelmed – and I would have gladly held off on such a discussion for another three years until his understanding of the world and his place in it grew.

But, there we were, sitting at the table and talking to our boy about big things.
And while my heart was saddened for the loss of the beautiful way that he viewed the world, Judah’s compassionate heart sought to find a way to help:

Can I take the little baby my dinner so he can grow big and strong?
No sweetheart, that babe lives a very long way away. He’s in the hospital, and the doctors are helping him the best way that they can, I said.
Then I will get on three planes and walk to where he is and find all the food and give it to him so that he can be strong, he said with determination.

I was so proud of him.

Since then, we’ve had a (Judah initiated and very gently explained) daily conversation about that little baby and children in need; and while he is broadening in his understanding, he’s also interested in finding solutions and ways in which we can help. So this morning, I suggested that we take an empty jar from the cupboard, and start saving some of our pocket money to send to babies and kids that need help.

That is a very good idea Mum, he said. You can take all the money from my piggy bank and send it to the kids, so that they can be big and strong.

So very proud.

As I write this post, I’m smiling at the generosity that children have when given the opportunity to help others in need; and while it’s a discussion that I thought we’d be having in a few years, it really has reinforced for me the idea that you’re never to young to give, or to be giving. And who knows where this spark of generosity may lead? If it enables Judah to be a more compassionate child, or to grow into a man who feels the plight of others and seeks to make a difference, then embracing it now may just be the best thing we’ve ever done.


Image from joojoo on Etsy.


wimcee said...

Thanks for sharing that story Nat...I was once asked about my heroes, and I could honestly say that my children were my heroes, for seeing things and doing things that were difficult with greater courage than I think I might have had at their ages. And they've grown into good men. Go Judah! Go Nat and Dave! xx

Michelle said...

What a beautiful story nat! Don't you just love these little people? Xx

Elle and Lou said...

Sometimes our kids help us see things afresh and question things all over again. Wise little souls!