This is how we fix it.

The world is so very, very broken right now, is it not? People are doing horrible things to one another, saying horrible things to one another, manifesting some form of hell on Earth daily. I don’t think I’d get much push back on that. The human race en masse? We’re not handling life so well lately.

But then there’s also this. There’s most IMPORTANTLY this.

Today, at my school, hundreds of volunteers from a local church swept in and took our lives over for the day. They decorated the entire building in snowy, Christmas beauty. They acted as personal shoppers to our kids as each picked out brand new coats, hats, mittens, boots. They clapped as the little girls spun in front of mirrors, admiring their faux fur hood lined, beaming faces. They guided the crafting of pillows and ornaments, delivered pizza, sang ‘Let it go’ at a concert during lunch. They poured hot chocolate, colored pictures, and pushed on swings.

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They loved my kids so well.

My small, resilient, grieving, exuberant, abused, malnourished, forgiving, imaginative, underprivileged, frustrating, lovable, beautiful kids.

I cried twice on the WAY to work thinking about it, but not as hard as I’m crying now recounting it.

Seven volunteers were specifically assigned to our class for the day. I watched my students hold hands with, get hugs from, laugh with, talk with, color with these people for hours. At the end of the day, I asked each student to share their favorite part of the day. Do you know what virtually every child said? “I liked hanging out with *classroom volunteer’s name*.”

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It caught me off guard, you know? They’d just gotten all of these new winter clothes, coloring books, treats, and prizes from games and the thing they loved most about the day was the PEOPLE. It damn near literally broke my heart into pieces. All of that stuff took second place to someone genuinely caring for them, listening to them, CHOOSING them. It was the best part of my day, listening to one after the other share this out.

However, despite leaving with warmer winter gear, many of my kids still went home to their painful realities. It kills me daily that I can’t fix it for them. New mittens won’t fix it, sparkly garlands won’t fix it, and whatever unimaginable sum of money it cost to put on that kind of amazing production won’t fix it which, on the surface, can feel terribly hopeless.

But,

BUT,

BUT!

For one day, those kids felt kindness from complete strangers. For one day, they didn’t have to work through academics when their minds are drifting to homefront issues. All day, through actions as well as words, they heard: “You are special, you are enjoyable, you are fun to be around, you are smart, you are funny, you are polite, you are important.”

Their realities didn’t change today but, perhaps, by the grace of God and goodness, their mindsets did.

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Do you see what this means for us? It means, (despite the dire need for these actions), no matter how much money we give to charities, how many clothes we donate, no matter how many food drives we support, we actually make the most impact with OURSELVES. When we love others well, when we are present, when we listen, when we make it known we are choosing the presence of another, we are in tiny but powerful ways healing the horrors surrounding us.

Never underestimate the power of your presence and affection for people- familiar or unknown. You, as it happens, are your most valuable influence on the world’s brokenness, one person at a time.

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12 thoughts on “This is how we fix it.

  1. Amazing article and true on all aspects. I had the pleasure of serving at the school this organization took on last year. Teachers including myself were crying just to witness the children shopping, singing and interacting with the volunteers. It was wonderful. Continue to share your heartfelt stories

  2. I want to take them all home with me. Everyday. Once their teens they become “punks” in societies eyes. Weds night I found out one of my students (sweet boy) was called the “n” and had his life threatened by hanging right here in Davsion…… They weren’t born sassy…. They were all sweet babies and the nurture part was left out of their lives. I don’t know what’s harder…… Seeing them when they are little or when they are teens…. I’m so thankful your students received this gift. As I write this with tears in my eyes….. I truly understand how much it meant to them….. And you.

    • The teens or little kids question is true- they are both equally heartbreaking but for different reasons. I love that you love on the older ones. They need all of this too!!

  3. It was such a blessing to be on the other side of this story as well. This is my third year participating in the event but this was my first year spent in a classroom. You are such a blessing to those children each and every day. I left felling so loved by you and your students. Thank you for being such an amazing inspiration

    • Thank-YOU Barbie! Your name was shared by the kids at the end of the day even though you’d already had to leave. They absolutely loved having you there as did I!

  4. My experience at Woodward Elementary was truly life changing. My heart grieved seeing how starved for love and nurturing these kids were. What could this picture look like if we all mentored one student? If we all daily spoke words of affirmation into their lives and hearts? I have decided I need to know the answer to those questions because they are all too precious not to try. :)

    • Tara! I love that you are all finding this post! Thank-you for loving on my babies so well! Sometimes, despite how much I love them, those little things just exhaust me, so having someone else come in and pick up where I’m lacking is such a blessing to me.

  5. Hi Sara,
    Thanks for sharing! That is such an amazing Blessing! Are you familiar with Kids Hope USA? This made me think of Kids Hope because the focus of Kids Hope is church volunteers partnering with at risk kids (the school determines who is considered “at risk”) to meet once a week to become a positive example in the child’s life. There is no witnessing, no handouts or anything, just time spent weekly with one child and one volunteer, creating memories, playing, working on homework if it is necessary, having fun, and kids getting to know an adult that they can trust and depend on to be there for them. Your school should definitely look into this program if you don’t have it already. Corrie Arthur (Shaffer) from DHS is in charge of the local Davison group now and it is working so wonderfully!

    • I’ve worked with Kids Hope in my previous school and I LOVE the program! I saw great things happening with those kids who had a mentor. It is such a powerful program! I’m so glad Davison has a chapter!

  6. I just wanted to say that i absolutely loved being part of “the big give” i was in the craft room :) and i absolutely adored every child. They have the most beautiful souls and kindest hearts. Just to see there faces light up melted my heart. I am so blessed to be apart of such a wonderful church and wonderful and be able to give back.

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