Learning to Be Rich

By Lauren Vonfeldt / Posted on 17 November 2016


We are so excited about how our kids are helping kids in need in our community! Here’s a story from a mom who experienced firsthand how close and how real those needs are.

Several years ago, I volunteered at my daughter’s elementary school. I thought I would be helping kids with crafts, running copies, or putting up bulletin boards. When I got there, they asked if I would be able to meet a 5th- grade student in the library and help her with her math. Whatever you need, I thought, and headed for the library.

When I got there, I met a student named Misty. As I sat down at the table, I knew immediately that life wasn’t as smooth for her as it was for other children. She was sweet and quiet and would barely look up at me. She mumbled low when I asked her a few things about herself, and I could tell she felt uncomfortable with my help. I immediately went out of my way to make her feel comfortable and we began to work through her homework. And, of course, I fell in love with this little girl on the spot and knew that we were going to be friends. So I came back once a week to help her with her homework.

As time went on, Misty began to trust me and meet my eyes and smile more often. We settled into easy and comfortable conversation every time we worked together. And I began to see some of the places she needed help more clearly. Being a 5th-grade girl meant that she was sensitive to what others thought of her, including me, so I had to be careful with my offers of help.

One day she needed to use a computer to finish a project that was due, and we ran out of time in the library. I knew she didn’t have a computer, so I asked if she thought her mom would let her come to my house that evening to use my computer. I offered to stop by her house and meet her mom and ask her about bringing Misty to my house.

As I put the address into my GPS, I realized she lived less than three miles from my house. Great, I thought to myself. She lives close-by. But when I pulled into the deeply rutted dirt road that led through a field to the place she lived, she might as well have been in a different country. I couldn’t believe the magnitude of struggle that was portrayed by the living conditions. Less than three miles from my nice, warm house where my children had everything they needed, there was a family that was in serious trouble and I had no idea.

I tell you this not to criticize Misty’s home and not to enter into a discussion of all the reasons their living conditions were the way they were. There were many reasons and none of them were simple. I tell you this because I was surprised and saddened that there was a child and a family that needed help and support and they were right down the road. They were practically in my neighborhood. They were at my child’s school.

And once I was aware, I could no longer be unaware.

One of the most important things we can do as we parent our children is to help them become aware of the needs of the people around them. Because once they learn to see, they can learn to help.

It could be a child who sits all alone at lunch. She needs a friend. Help your child see her. There could be someone in your child’s class who doesn’t have a snack or who would like to share a glue stick. Help your child notice. Expand the reach of your child’s heart to view the world through a lens of compassion.

Your kids and mine can be difference makers.

The first step is to be aware of the people around you. And once you are aware, you can no longer be unaware. And once you know, you are compelled to do.

This month in Waumba Land, UpStreet, and KidStuf, we are inviting our kids to participate in a Be Rich initiative to help the children with real needs in the schools in our communities.

Inov-box hope you grabbed your box and are filling it with snacks and a donation, but are also taking the opportunity to help your kids become more aware of the needs of the children in our community.

Children’s Ministry Team


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