Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making a Difference

With us eating rice and beans every night for dinner this month, I have been trying to figure out more ways to expose my kids to other cultures.

This was after a dinner conversation that was sparked by one of the LAHASH videos featuring a little boy who was saying "thank you" for the food that was given him this last year. He could now eat 3 meals a day. My kids were a little slack-jawed when I pointed out that 3 meals a day now means that he ate less than 3 meals a day before.

I had had a complaint formally filed against me that very afternoon for having the same old same old snacks after school again. They wanted something new and interesting.

"Did those kids who were finally getting their 3 meals a day get a snack option after school?" Do you think they even had a snack after school let alone something to pick and choose from?"

I was answered with wide eyes, shaking heads and silence.

I don't want this month to be about shoving it down their throats; that they "have to get it."

I think the little boy smiling at them from the computer and talking from the other side of the world and saying "thank you" with a giggle and smile was more impacting to my kids than "eat your rice and beans because there are other little children starving in Africa who would be glad to have them" speech.

I can remember my mother trying to get a point across at me and quoting Bible verses to me. I'd be doing a "lalalalalal" in my head and tuning her out. I'm sure I've already done the same thing to my own kids.

Something eventually got through but the things that were most impacting were the life lessons the put in front of us without preaching. I'm trying to make my own motto: "Say a few words and then sit down and shut up." Let the Holy Spirit do His work and get out of the way already!

It was the people they had in our home from all over the world (literally) that opened my eyes to what other cultures and peoples were like. The spices and scents of others cooking in my mother's kitchen were one way to expand my Midwestern palate. "Sea Weed anyone?" It's really yummy wrapped around rice and sushi!

I didn't always like the situations, food, or even the people that came into our home, but my parents taught us to respect and appreciate other cultures. I wish now that I could go back to my "superior Junior High mind days" and change my attitude towards some of them.

Then my parents gave me wings to visit some of the places and I left pieces of my heart behind longing to go back and make a difference somehow.

This month eating simply and standing in solidarity sharing with those who truly cannot afford even the basics I can make that difference with my entire family.

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