Elizabeth’s chickens laid lots of eggs; eggs she sold to a good number of people in our county. Among her egg customers was an old man who lived well below the poverty level and had serious heart disease issues.
I am sad to say that I don’t remember his name—I don’t even know for sure that I ever knew his name. What I do know, however, is that every other week he would knock on our door and politely ask to purchase a dozen eggs; handing me a crumpled dollar and the empty egg carton from his previous visit.
One fall day, however, after asking for his eggs, he asked if I thought we could spare a few walnuts. He quickly went on to say he’d be happy to pick them up himself, but that he’d sure like a few.
Without hesitation I told him he could have all the walnuts he wanted. I told them he could have the sack full I’d picked up earlier in the day leaning against the shed and that if he needed something to put them in I would get him some feed sacks. He thanked me, but said he’d brought a few buckets just in case I said yes. Then after putting his eggs in his car, he went over to the walnut tree nearest the road and started picking them up and putting them into his bucket a few at a time.
A few minutes later the school bus dropped Elizabeth and Olivia off in front of the house and they came running in asking what ‘the egg guy’ was doing out by the walnut tree. When I told them I’d said he could take what he wanted, they both made comments about him being too old and too sick to be doing that and went to put their things away.
A couple of minutes later I looked out the window to find both the girls silently helping ‘the egg guy’ pick up walnuts. With their high-level energy they could pick up several to his one and in no time his buckets were full.
The girls didn’t have to help. They hated picking up walnuts (and still do). But it makes this mom’s heart happy to know that even ‘way back then’ helping someone in need took priority over their own dislikes and displeasures.
My children didn’t learn to put their feelings aside for the sake of others at school or from a cartoon on television or a book on their shelf. They learned to have a servant’s heart from seeing others (their dad and I, Granny and the adults at church who took the time to love them and pay attention to them).
I don’t say that out of pride. I say this because the truth of the matter is that children really do learn what they live. They take their cues from you. So the question is, what are you teaching your children?
Thanks, kids, for being such eager and good students!