Tough Questions - Can You Help Me?

Earlier this week we took a field trip to Atlanta to see a wonderful production by The Atlanta Opera, The Pirates of Penzance. It's a great light comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan - a perfect introduction to opera. We enjoyed the show so much! I could blog about things you could do with this opera in your homeschool. I have lots of ideas about that. That, however, isn't what has been on my heart for the past few days.

After the performance we stopped downtown to visit my husband in his new offices. He has always worked "downtown", but the new offices are right in the thick of things. If you're familiar with Atlanta - Peachtree Center. As we drove I was talking with the kids about being excited to go see daddy. I love the sights and sounds of downtown. The hustle and bustle always excites me, and takes me back to a time when we lived closer in town and I was getting my graduate degree at Georgia State University. We also attended an "in town" church.

As I looked in my rear view mirror I could see Miss B wasn't smiling and she wasn't talking. I asked her what was wrong and she stated simply, "I don't like coming down here. The homeless people make me too sad." That is my girl for you. She has a heart the size of Texas and when she sees someone else hurting she hurts, too. She reminds me of myself when I was younger, and I think that as I've gotten older I've perhaps hardened a little. Why is that?

We met daddy in his lobby and proceeded to walk to lunch - passing several homeless people along the way. One woman in particular, stands out to me. She was singing a lovely spiritual and the sign she was holding said "Jesus Saves!". We whisked by her (in a hurry I guess) and my daughter grabbed my hand and said "Look, mom. She believes in Jesus. How come she is homeless?" Tough questions. I wanted to stop and talk to this woman, to give her a little money, and to tell her I appreciated her singing. Why didn't I do that? I am disappointed in myself.

I know we need to do MORE to help the hurting in our own community. I want to foster this compassion in my children and allow them to help in some way. I'm thinking volunteering at the soup kitchen in our former downtown church may be the thing. I don't want my children to be de-sensitized to the suffering going on around them. I don't want them to think these people are less than us, or that they are there because they made poor choices. The simple fact is this: we are all God's children, and I believe that we are to help those in need (no matter their reasons for being in need).

It's easy to teach academics, but it's not so easy to teach compassion.

How would you have answered my sweet daughter? Do you and your children volunteer in some way to help people in need? I'd love to get your comments and suggestions on this one. I don't have a curriculum guide or a sleek blog to consult on this one.

I'll leave you with a picture -- to lighten up the mood a little. This was taken in my husband's building. Can you tell my children are feeling the love?