Today I met a new friend for coffee. Our conversation was nothing less than synergistic. We share a passion to see people mobilized for impact in our world. We talked about all the amazing things we, as women after God’s heart, can be doing to bring his love and mercy to the world.
And then she told this story.
“Just the other day I was riding through town with my daughter. I saw a homeless man on the sidewalk. I keep a bunch of fleece blankets in my trunk. And so I pulled over, handed my daughter a $5 bill and got her one of the blankets. I said to my daughter, “Go take the money and the blanket to the man.”
This wasn’t the first time the mom and daughter had been “on mission” right in their community. Rather, it’s part of their lifestyle. The daughter has seen her mom caring for the “least.” She recognized that this man was an image-bearer. And so being the one to give him a warm blanket and a bit of money was natural for her. And, she knew her mom would be watching and would be by her side in an instant … if something went wrong.
But it didn’t. It went very right. My new friend mobilized her daughter for impact.
Do you want to mobilize your kids for impact? Here’s how …
1. Be on mission yourself.
Are you aware of the social justice and humanitarian needs in your own community? Do you know human trafficking statistics? Do you know the places in your town where someone can get a hot meal and a bed for the night? What about your neighborhood? Your children’s school? You honestly can’t take care of every need in your world, but most likely you can do something. Begin each day praying that God will show you what is on his heart in your corner of the world. And then commit to partnering with him to advance his kingdom. Be on mission yourself.
2. Invite your children to join you on mission.
I love the example my new friend set for her daughter. But she did more that set an example. It would have been easy for the mom to have all the fun, but she invited her daughter to come along. Invite your children to join you on mission.
3. Listen to your children when they begin to see the needs of the world around them.
When your children ask about the man by the side of the road, or the girl in their class whose shoes are falling apart, or the woman huddled under the overpass, answer them appropriately, but with honesty. And then consider what you can do to help. As your children become aware of the needs in the world around them, listen to them.
4. Provide resources to enable your children to live out compassion in the world.
I love that this mom has a blanket of fleece blankets at the ready! Here’s a DIY tutorial if you’d like to make some fleece blankets for your trunk. This would be a great Family Night activity. But you could also keep some bottled water, granola bars, coupons to local restaurants, in your trunk as well. Keep resources available to help those in need. Enable your children to live out compassion in the world.
5. Stand beside your children when their heart for the world seems crazy.
I was challenged to embrace the crazy missional heart of my children when my daughter, Sara Maria, asked me, “Can I really ask God for anything?” Be open to the possibility that God may be shaping your children’s hearts beyond what makes sense. Don’t hold back on risky situations. Instead rest in the confidence that the safest place to be is right in the center of God’s will. (Although I don’t think this means “safe”in the way we often think of safe. But that’s a post for another day.) Stand beside your children, even when their heart for the world seems crazy.
When my new friend finished sharing about her daughter and the fleece blankets, I gave her a high-five and said a bit too enthusiastically, right there in Panera, “That’s it!” She was doing what I believe we all should be doing. She was mobilizing her daughter for impact.
But I don’t think she’s the only one doing this. What are you doing to mobilize the kids in your life for impact? Please post your ideas below. I’d love to put together a resource list of your ideas! Of the ideas above, which ones are particularly meaningful to you? Do you have a story to tell or a question to ask? I’d love to hear from you!