When I was 9 years old, I lived in West Africa.
I have forgotten much about my life there, but I still remember the morning we drove past a crippled old man sitting by the side of the road. In a split-second, I noticed him, wanted to help him, and wondered if he would be offended by a gift of my afternoon's snack of a small box of cereal. And then he was gone.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove 9 year old Mason to an appointment. As we waited at a red light, an old man crossed the street in front of us, his worldly belongings piled high on the bike he pushed along.
Mason watched as the man stooped down and took something out of the gutter.
Mason: "Mom, why did he just pick that up?"
Answering his question allowed me to incorporate a lesson on gratefulness and appreciation for what we have in life. And compassion for others who are not as fortunate. But before I got to the "compassion" part...
Mason: "If he had been next to us, would it have been okay for me to give him my bag of crackers?"
Flashback to when I was 9 years old, living in Africa...