Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"What does POOR mean, mommy?"

That's the question my daughter, Amber, asked me two days ago as we sat on the couch looking through our most recent World Vision* newsletter. It was my fault for prompting the question when I pointed to a group of kids on one page and said, "Most of those kids only have one toy each. Some of them don't have any toys." My daughter's eyes widened. "Why, mommy?" she asked. "Because they're poor," I answered. "What does poor mean, mommy?" My tongue went numb.

How do you tell a 4-year-old who has everything she needs, and then some, what it means to be poor? I said, "Well, sweetie, being poor means that most of these kids don't have the money to buy toys. Most of them only have enough money to eat, and some of them don't even have enough money to buy food sometimes." Amber's eyes welled up with tears. "That makes me sad, mommy." I couldn't say anything, for my eyes were getting misty, too. We sat there in silence as I held and rocked my daughter who, at that moment, had a heart too big for her 4-year-old body.

"I'm still sad." Amber broke the silence a few moments later. I said, "But we help out two of these kids so they have food and...." She was still sad. I had an idea. "Why don't we color some pictures for our sponsored kids and their friends and mail it to them." She said, "Okay." Then I added, "And we can buy them a present at Christmas-time and send it to them." Her eyes lit up. "And how about me? Can we buy a Christmas present for me, too?" Amber said, her big heart shrinking a little. I started to explain the irony of her last statement and then stopped myself. Someday she would understand. Meanwhile, I was still proud of her compassionate heart, even if it only lasted a few minutes.

* www.worldvision.org

1 comment:

heidibelle said...

That one made me tear up too. Wow, kids can bring us to that place so easily. In so many ways, they are so innocent of this world they live in. I know ours will really be in for culture shock when we move to a place surrounded by truly poor people. Thanks for sharing.