Today, Austin and I had the privilege of going to the Ferndale Community with an outreach opportunity,Summer to Serve, through our church. We are going in every Thursday in an Adopt-A-Block style with a purpose to reach out to the community that the Dream Center is already reaching out to on a monthly basis. Last week, we went and dropped off introduction bags of goodies and information that we’d be coming to play each week on Thursday morning.
I talked to Austin on the way over about sharing and that we are going to reach out to the other kids there and make new friends. We were taking his soccer equipment and some other toys. Since, we still struggle in this area of being generous, I was really hoping to help him focus on letting the other kids in the community play, etc.
I was somewhat concerned about how Austin was going to treat the kids. And I do not mean because some of them are a different race than he is. At this point, he has no idea that there is an issue of race. He identifies children by the color of their shirt. So if he ever says “the blue boy” or “the black boy” he means they are wearing a blue or black shirt. (Oh, I pray that his eyes will stay this color blind!) I was just concerned that our sharing and kindness issue might hurt the other kids’ feelings. Obviously, I know that Jesus is bigger than my 4 year old’s attitude; but I still felt we needed some prepping.
When it came time to play soccer, Austin was in tears because he doesn’t understand that the point of soccer is to take the ball and shoot it into your own goal. As much as he doesn’t like to share, he doesn’t like to have things taken away either. Hard lesson in his mind. Great opportunity.
He slowly got over it and got back in to play with the kids. He had a clear shot for the goal and one of the older kids, came in and stole the ball from him. He kept going; but I could tell he was really struggling to keep moving and not be upset. As I was cheering him on, I heard the kid who was playing goalie say “Hey Man, you gotta let him take the shot next time!”
My head whipped around. I realized the child in the goalie was telling his friend to let Austin have a shot at the goal.
I wanted to squeeze that boy!
Sure enough, next time Austin got an open shot, the other child backed off and let Austin shoot, they even set it up for him to shoot twice. Austin was thrilled.
I should know this by now. I should know that any time we step out to serve that we will probably be more blessed ourselves. It’s such an odd place to put our hearts. We know we are going to serve. But, we never want to elevate ourselves or serve from a superior place. We want to just love this neighborhood and help them continue to see Jesus.
But, every time we step out:
We will be humbled.
We will be awed.
We will be changed.
I didn’t have any negative expectations of this community; but I didn’t expect them to be reaching out to my son and encouraging him and embracing him.