There is an area outside of our local Wal-Mart that homeless people frequent. There is nowadays nearly always someone there with a sign, looking for food or work. I am a drive-by type of person. I never carry cash, and I don't know how to help, so I tend to lock the doors and look the other way. My boys don't have this luxury - they always look, always want to read the signs, always want to help. Today there was a man there, and Ari asked why we couldn't take him to our home and get him lunch. I tried to explain that we didn't know him, he could be a dangerous stranger, and we couldn't really help. But then the boys asked again, and again, and I could tell this was bothering them. So I decided that this would be a Teachable Moment. My friend Sherry tells me about these moments in her parenting, and I have always looked up to her and gleaned wisdom from her, so I've adopted these Teachable Moments into our lifestyle. And today was one.
So we turned the car around and, since I had no cash on me as usual, we drove through a McDonalds and got the largest meal and soda we could. I told the boys we would bless the food, and pray for the man to find work and a home. So we said our prayer and pulled over to give the man the food. I have to say that he seemed very grateful, and the boys were so relieved that he wasn't hungry, at least not for now. About half an hour later, as we were eating lunch at home, they started talking about him again, how they hoped he enjoyed his food. I hope they learned something from today, about blessing other people and praying for others. And I think I learned to open my eyes more, to see others around me, to notice. So, a Teachable Moment for all of us.
On a funnier note, when I was trying to talk the boys out of bringing the man home, I said something about what if he had a knife, he could hurt us - then after we delivered his meal, Ari said, "Now he can use his knife to cut his hamburger!"