Since it was such a lovely day here in Florida, Agustin and I thought it would be good to get Shane out of the house for a bit. He has been sequestered for the last few days due to being ill. We drove a few blocks to the park in our community. The parking lot was full of moms and dads, in their cars, waiting for the elementary school across the street to dismiss. I had planned on walking the perimiters of the grassy areas for my exercise. As I began to walk, I noticed that the park seemed to have more litter than usual. I also noticed the groundskeeper patiently picking up trash. It was then I decided to show this man an act of kindness and shorten his tedious chore! In the words of Charles H. Spurgeon, I sought him out as an object of my gracious intentions! I bent down to pick up a potato chip bag, then walked a few steps, I bent down again to pick up a water bottle. It struck me that this was better for me than just walking! I could get in my bending and stretching while performing my act of kindness, then walk home from the park to do my real walking. The man was jovial and smiling as we met midway in the field. I deposited my handful of trash into the half filled trashbag he extended to me. He then exclaimed: "That's so nice of you. Thanks for making my job easier today." I shared with him how when my boys were small, I would always have them pick up any trash they found on any playground we went to before they would be allowed to play. I would make a game out of it. "Josh, let's see how much trash we can pick up before I count to sixty! Then you can play." We would rush around laughing and racing. He would be giggling by the time that minute was up. I did similar things with Shane. The groundskeeper said it would be nice if all parents who use the park would see that their kids helped clean it up. I then remarked that if the principles of personal responsibility were more prevalent in our society today, we would have far fewer problems. He was working on the clock, so I was careful not to take up too much of his time, but I will relish the smile on his face as I offered a simple act of kindness today!
If you're a momma of young ones, I'd like to encourage you. Why not use the opportunity for training your children in community service when visiting parks, museums, public areas? If you see trash or some other need while you are in a public place, have your children pitch in and be a community helper. Stress how they are being a good neighbor by doing this small amount of work. It is showing kindness! God smiles on this. Make it a game with your kids. Praise them for helping. More importantly, be alert when you arrive at your church. While you are walking in the halls, the sanctuary, the fellowship hall, or restrooms, you can be on the look out for ways to make your church more presentable. I enjoy straightening all the hymnals I can reach. Many times I will have my nine year old go around and collect candy/gum wrappers from the pews, floor, and hymnal shelves. Is there something you and your children can do to make your church's appearance better than when you arrived? Teach your children that they are blessing the Lord and others when they care for the house of God.
I must say that I'm disappointed when I observe parents coming and going, never to give a thought about the work that goes into maintaining the very places they enjoy using. They are bypassing a beautiful learning experience for their children! It is especially disheartening to me when I see children CREATE messes and the parents simply walk away at the end of play time to load the kiddies in the car and drive away. Wouldn't you agree that we as Christians should always consider our testimonies and never leave a place worse than it was when we first arrived? My friend Kim practices this rule faithfully. After a meal at my house, her daughters will start loading my dishwasher and Kim will grab the broom and start going at it with zest! No matter how much I beg her to stop and just sit, she insists she wants the place to look as if she hasn't even been there when she leaves!
We read in Acts 10:38 that Jesus went about doing good. We may even believe the text implies that Jesus went out of His way to do good. He sought out the objects of His gracious intentions. So must we! Think of the fun we can have as we train our children to do the same.
"He hath left us an example that we should follow
in HIS steps."
Above: Agustin & Shane enjoying our community's basketball court!
The playground my family enjoys!