While we were on the Nashville mission trip, we worked at a summer program for inner city kids. I was slapped in the face with something there that I was so amazed by. My boys have only really ever been around people just like them. I'm keeping a perspective here, I realize they are 6 months and 2-years-old, but still. KJ is really only friends with kids the same color as him, with the same general economic background and the same religious beliefs. While I was sad to admit that, it wasn't the amazing part. The amazing part was that KJ waltzed into a room of kids VERY different from him in nearly every regard, and did not even notice. I was expecting some quizzical looks, some awkward questions, maybe a little intimidation. But not all... There were kids and there were toys and that was all he saw. My first reaction was to pull out the hand sanitizer, ask the kids to not touch the baby, and generally shelter my boys. KJ's first reaction was to jump in and make new friends. C-bugs first reaction was to giggle at 5 new faces that were about 3 inches away from his nose at one time. I just stood back and watched and PRAYED. It sounds terrible, but I must say that my prayers in that moment started out something along the shallow lines of "oh, please don't let my boys get sick; keep the germs away; keep them safe!" Over the week and slowly to even the point where I am writing this, my prayers have begun to change "Lord, let my boys know you more clearly; help them to always view their neighbor with the innocence of a child; let them never be afraid to get their hands dirty in your name; May they always be eager to open their hearts a bit wider to love a few more of your children; help me find ways to expand their view of the world around them". I'm pretty sure I need to say a few prayers, too, about my own attitude in the situation. It was not a pleasant experience to realize how much I have to learn about the way I view people and the way I serve the Lord.
What a big responsibility it is to be a parent! In the very moments when I feel like I'm a pretty amazing mom (like taking my kids on a mission trip), the Lord shows me how much I have to learn (like the fact that prayers work better than hand sanitizer). I sure have a lot to learn.