Friday, November 29, 2013

An Unexpected Lesson from shopping in the World Vision Catalog

Some of my favorite posts to write are ones where we share good books that we've come across. I LOVE to read, and I really want my kids to love to read too. I believe that reading has the potential to be breathtakingly wonderful, and also stale and boring. This is why I spend a significant amount of time each week exploring a variety of places for potentially awesome books.

We read a decent amount of duds, but we typically enjoy most of them. Every now and then we'll come across treasures that we read over and over and over. These are the ones that I love to share.

Surprisingly to me, the justice-oriented posts never really go over that well on here. A smart blogger would say, "Gotcha, my audience isn't that into these posts. Don't do them anymore. Try something different." But, how can I not share the good stuff we are discovering as we aid to help our kids become aware of some of the injustices going on in the world (at an age appropriate level) and what they can do to play a part in the story of the reconciliation of all things to Christ?

I can't NOT share. :)

So, anyway, tonight we were making our final selections on what to give out of the World Vision Catalog. We'd been reviewing it all week and each of us came up with 1 or 2 gifts we wanted to give. Asante decided that he really wanted to give 1.) clothes -- his mathematical and practical brain loved that he could pay $50 and give $500 worth of clothes ("We only pay 10% mom!") and 2.) Safe Nets (i.e. mosquito nets). He chose the later because of a story (Mimi's Village) that we read together, months ago, about malaria.

I must admit, sometimes I like the justice-oriented books more than the kids do. Or at least so it seems. Elephant and Piggie get some major laughs, but Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen leaves the kids sober. I'm left wondering, "Did they get it? What is going on in their brains or hearts-- anything at all?"

Aly decided that one of her gifts was medicine and the other was school for girls. She remembers that her and dad read a book about girls not being able to go to school in various parts of the world (and in different eras of time). At the time, I wondered if she understood what was being read to her. But when she was reading through the catalog, her eyes lit up when she came to that page and said, "Yes, yes, this is what I want to give."

So, perhaps we don't make sandwiches for homeless friends on the streets on Madison and pass them out as a family. And maybe we don't travel all the way across the world as a family to be present in the lives of a group of people who are living in poverty. It's hard to live acts of justice when you have 4 kids who are 6 and under. Naptimes, mealtimes, cranky times-- all these get in the way.

But, for now, we read. We read books that inspire us to love others who are both similar and different than us. We read about kids who live in different places of the world- marveling at how some things are so different, but finding connection in how many things are very much the same. We read about injustices that we don't see with our own eyes, but that are captured so vividly in the pages of the books. We learn, we ask questions, we wonder, we think, we pray. Every now and then we cry.

Tonight was a little bit of reassurance that all the time we put into choosing good books for our kids-- ones that maybe they wouldn't choose for themselves, but ones that are really important- it is worth it. Even when they roll their eyes and say, "I don't WANT this book", we read it anyway. The words and pictures and stories are burying themselves in their child-sized hearts, and can make a difference in the way that our children live.

So fellow mommas and poppas, keep searching for and reading books that matter!

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