My girls really impressed me this weekend. Woops, maybe I better start with a warning: Major bragging about to commence.
I mentioned that the girls' school celebrated the Land Run this week. It was a great day of fun, although it was pretty darn hot. There were candy stands and snow cones and soft drinks for the kids to purchase. There were covered wagons and settlers, and of course wild Indians running all over the place. Did I mention it was 98 degrees outside? Can I tell you it felt WONDERFUL?! Yes, I was sticky and sweaty and I smelled like sunscreen, but I gotta tell you the heat felt great. But all of this fun was not the best part of the day. I learned something about my kids. Something so great, it makes me tear up to think about it.
I sat with Bookworm and her friends first. There were 4 other girls besides Bookworm and myself. I was really impressed by how polite they all were, and how they were all being very kind to each other. Then, I went over and sat with Popcorn and her friends. I was equally impressed with her friends.
Popcorn has a little friend who is Mexican (Popcorn's word for her, and also her little friends word for herself. No, it's not politically correct, but they don't care about that) Her parents do not speak English. Actually, Popcorn isn't sure her friend, B, actually has a daddy. As soon as they were through eating, Popcorn's other friend, J, offered to take B with her to buy a snow cone. She had $2, and so she was wanting to buy B a snow cone. B seemed embarrassed that she was offering to buy one for her in front of me, and tried to ignore her. J was persistent, and finally B just took one of the dollars, and stashed it under her leg so maybe I wouldn't notice.
I was really touched by this display. Popcorn has shared her money with B many times. You have to understand that anytime there is a chance to spend money at school, Popcorn raids her piggy bank and takes cash to school. She sometimes tells me, and sometimes she just goes and buys stuff. I usually find out when she comes home with books, candy, toys, whatever they had to sell. She shared money with B for the Santa shop, the book fair and for basically everything they have.
Okay, I'm ashamed to say this now, but I have been slightly annoyed by this practice. I haven't' said anything to her, but I have to admit that I feel like she's blowing all of her money on her friends. However, after seeing Popcorn and her friend, J, in action, I was so touched. Here are two little girls willing to help a friend. They never wait for her to ask, they just jump in, willing to give what they have to her. I praised Popcorn for her and J's giving spirit today. I told her that she is showing Jesus to other people when she shares so eagerly. She seemed surprised by this. It never occurred to her to not share what she had with her friend. She said sometimes J doesn't' have money, so she shares with her, or if Popcorn forgets to bring money, J shares with her too. Isn't that beautiful? Here are 3 little girls, in first grade, who love their friends.
When Popcorn and her friends headed to the snow cone line, I headed back over to Bookworm's group. The line for the snow cones was crazy long, and there was no way I wanted to stand for that long. Actually, Popcorn and her buddies ditched the snow cone idea and went to the candy stand that only had a fraction of the kids in it.
So, I went back to Bookworm's group. There were only 3 girls left on her blanket, counting Bookworm. They sat and chatted, and one of her friends told me about coming to the states from Mexico. Her dad got his papers first, and he came without them for awhile. Then her mom, her brother, and her papers came through, but her sister, who was in pre-k, didn't have her papers yet, so they had to come over without her. Her mom was able after a few months to go back for her sister, and then they were all together again. Can you imagine? According to Grace's friend, when your papers are ready, you have to go. You can't wait until every one's papers are ready, or you may not get to come at all. Can you imagine deciding to leave one child because you were afraid your other 2 would miss their chance?
Pretty soon, one of Bookworm's friends returned, and she had another little girl following her that I'd never seen before. She never really made eye contact with any of the girls, but the girl from Mexico offered her a piece of candy, and the new girl split the piece of candy in half and handed it to the friend who brought her over. Each of the girls was very friendly towards her, but I noticed she never responded verbally to her. Eventually, one little girl asked her to go play, and she got up and left. After they left, the girls told me she doesn't speak English. She's brand new, does not speak English, is not in their class, and these 5 little girls made an effort to make her feel welcome, and one actually sought her out and brought her over to their group.
I praised Bookworm today also. I told her I was so proud of the decisions she made when she was choosing friends. She chose a group of girls that are willing to be silly, laugh together, build each other up, and show responsibility. They have a club called "Kids Who Care." They pick up litter on the playground and basically look around for anyone who needs help, whether it's a kid, teacher or whatever. They made posters and everything. It's pretty amazing.
I guess one of the reasons I was so struck by their generosity is that I sometimes fret over all of the things they have. I worry that they will take it for granted and not really appreciate that there are so many kids who don't have all of the great things they have. I frequently silently lecture myself that I don't take them to soup kitchens, or something so they can put a face to the stories I tell them about kids who have less than them. We adopt families at Christmas, but that is always anonymous, so they never really see them. Then, in an environment where I least expected it, they showed God's love to others. They didn't need me to tell them to show kindness to others. They didn't need to be told to share with their friends. They just saw a need in others, and they tried to help. They allowed God's Spirit to work through them. Wow.
It really made me think of the love that God has for us. It made me happy that they were allowing themselves to be God's hands and feet. I pray they will always be tender to the needs of others and eagerly serve those needs.
A new command I give you: Love on another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.