Monday, January 25, 2010

MMM: Outside the box {Haiti}

The last couple of weeks have been rough for my family and at the lowest point I found myself exhausted, frustruated, emotionally drained and just plain sad....then I started seeing images from the earthquake in Haiti.  It moved me to shift my perspectives in a quick hurry.

I had a rough week at work.  Working way more hours than usual, dealing with stressful people situations and having trouble communicating objectives.  But I have a job that I enjoy.  My place of employment could be a mess of rubble on the ground.

My house is a wreck.  My Christmas tree is still up.  I am overwhelmed at where to start to reorganize after Christmas.  But our home is standing and warm and I never fear for where we will sleep at night.  We are clothed and fed.  I have never given a second thought to to walking to the sink when I am thirsty and getting a clean glass of water.

My children have not slept well.  Two of the three have taken turns being sick and demanding.  One has had me so worried about his health at points that I couldn't function.  I've been at the end of my parenting rope.  But I have not gone to bed a single night wondering where my children were, whether they were safe or hungry or cold or scared or alone.  I am blessed to have accessible and affodable healthcare.  I am blessed to have access to doctors and nurses at a moment's notice.

I lost the last of my grandparents last weekend.  My children will not know any of their great-grandparents from my side of the family.  But each of the four of them lived long and full lives.  Their lives were taken neither suddenly nor tragically.  The each lived long enough to know their grandchildren and to be remembered.

I had the kind of week that left me without words when I prayed.  I didn't even know what to pray.  That said, I cannot imagine the prayers of the Haitian believers who lost their homes, their place of employment, family members. Everything.  The little that they had.  Gone.  How do you even begin to pray again?  And how do you get through it without praying?  How do you grasp an understanding of God as creator amidst that kind of destruction?  But how do you deal with that kind of destruction without faith in God?  Mind-boggling.

Against the backdrop of the suffering in Haiti, I've been left with an amazing sense of thanksgiving and also responsibility.  Thanksgiving and rejoicing for all the ways I have been blessed...beyond measure really.  And responsibility to teach my children from a young age just how blessed they are.  I want them to also feel a sense of responsibility for not only acknowledging their blessings, but sharing them.

So this Monday, I tried to reach outside the box with our MMM activity...way outside the box.  Even outside the country.  Today we have been talking about the earthquake in Haiti.  I know they are young and I had reasonable expectations for how much they could grasp, but I'm praying that we can continue to show them that there is a bigger world around them.

That said, the boys are 3 and 2 so we definitely kept it really simple.

First we talked a little bit about earthquakes.  KJ especially was very curious about this.  I asked what he thought an earthquake was and he said...Maybe like a cat or a dog or something like that.

Not quite.

So  I used this earth-quake simulator online to show them how buildings are effected when the ground trembles.  I tried to choose my words carefully about how blessed we are to live in a strong house made of bricks that has a good chance of survival in bad weather (don't want anyone having nightmares).  Mostly the boys just liked pushing buttons on the computer (a rare treat), and watching the building crumble.

Then we played with blocks.  Made towers and knocked them down.  Luckily the simulation of an earthquake was pretty easy in this activity since we have a live-in-destructor (Cbug).

Next I showed them some of the pictures above of families displaced, homes and businesses destroyed and people running just for hope of some clean water. (I got all of the pictures included on this blog entry from this might need to sensor a bit for young chidren.)

KJ and I talked (Cbug's attention span was D-O-N-E) about children that did not have homes or toys or food or water because there was an earthquake in their town.  He was very concerned and wanted to know if we could send them some of his blocks to help out.  I tried to tenderly explain that they needed much bigger blocks and we could help them buy some. 

But the best thing for him to do was to pray for the children.  He asked if we could pray right then and it was a moment that makes MMM well worth while....and shortly following the Amen both boys were rolling around on the floor again, giggling without a care.  I joined in.  Thankful for perspective and thankful for my children.


MMM is first about spending intentional time with my children, but it is also about blessing others through encouragement and transparency.  Telling the story that we are not perfect and are just looking for ways to get through a sometimes tough beginning of the week.

This week in particular, we would love for you to JOIN US! Take time to remind your children how blessed they are and that they can help other kids experience blessing. Let us know how your family is joining the effort.  We'd love ideas on how to continue this conversation within our family.

I know there are lots of organizations joining the cause, and your local church may even have a program. Our family will be donating through Bread for a Hungry World if you are looking for something.

If you have older children that need more information, I ran across this website with info for kids about earthquakes when I was doing some research on Haiti.  It might be a good resource for you, but was a little above my kids head.

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

Wow such a cool story. I am blessed to be your friend. I hope some day i am this way with my kids