Candice is a busy wife to Matt and mom of Noah (5) and Tyler (3 going on 21). Candice also works part-time at our Rosebank Store of Christian Book Discounters. In her spare time Candice writes for her own blog and is a travel consultant.
When you have a baby, just getting through one day without falling asleep in our cereal is the biggest achievement. As my two ninjas get older, I’m beginning to realise that raising kids, as much as possible to be Jesus kids, doesn’t just consist of trying to make it through the day in one piece, making sure that homework is done, ensuring that veggies are eaten and that naps are taken. God actually relies on me (and Matt) to give our kids character building lessons, to teach them Godly values and to show them how to be Jesus to people. Because we’re the closest people to them, we’re the first example they’ll know and see ~ ahem. The pressure is great.
Noah, my 5 year old, is at school in the mornings. At the start of the year, he was at another pre-school where he was bullied. It impacted him and his little self-confidence and character a lot. As his mommy, it was just the most heart breaking thing to have to walk through. Needless to say, he’s in a different school and loving it BUT even though Noah and I walked that path, and it was horrible, it gave him a chance to learn an important lesson. Because he knows that being ugly to other kids hurts, because he’s experienced it himself, he knows what it feels like. He identifies. So everyday when he gets out the car at school, and we walk into class, I say to him “Mr Noah, you be the little boy who makes another girl or boy smile today.” Look, he’s 5 ~ and he’s totally not into sharing at the moment and really is feisty so of course, he’s got his moments where he’s not even close to bringing a smile to someone else, but rather a flood of tears. But every morning as his mommy, I pray “Lord, help my baby help someone smile today” ~ and I try remind him at the start of every day as he heads into his classroom. He’s never come home and told me he’s been a smile-bringer but his teacher told me the other day that he prayed in class and this is how his prayer went “Dear Jesus. Thank you for our mommies and daddies and please help us to be kind to each other today. Jesus doesn’t like it when we’re ugly to each other. Amen.”
I’m trying my best to teach my kids to bring and be joy to the people around them. By doing that, they’re demonstrating Jesus, even in the small things, like sharing Lego blocks or by asking another little girl or boy if they’re ok if they fall and helping them up ~ it’s a tough one to teach a little person who’s still trying to figure out what they want in life and who they are in life, never mind trying to be a light in someone else’s but we take it one day and one prayer at a time.
There’s also the practical side of things like trying to get my kids to be involved hands on with people who they wouldn’t normally get to interact with, to get them to see and be face to face with kids who don’t have as much as they do.
SUSPENDED COFFEE AND GROCERIES
I read up a couple of weeks ago about this idea of suspended coffee. I’d never heard of it, and its apparently an idea that’s in operation all over the USA but I was totally keen to try it.
Suspended coffee works in some coffee shops, where if you buy a coffee, you can say “One decaf to go and one suspended.” In essence, you’re paying for two coffees but one is suspended. Someone in need, for example, a homeless person, a family in need ~ when they come into the coffee shop, they know to ask for a suspended coffee and they receive a free one because of you, paying for one. Stunning idea and really just demonstrates an act of kindness and giving to those who can’t even afford a simple luxury of coffee in the morning.
So, because I’m not really a coffee drinker, I decided to rope my kids in when we do grocery shopping, in a kinda “Suspended Grocery Shopping” idea. When I take my two little ninjas in the trolley down the aisle at the grocery store, whatever they choose as a treat, they throw another one in the trolley for “a baby who doesn’t have one.” Living in South Africa, my kids come into contact with loads of kids who are less fortunate than they are so I pack the extra goodies in my car. It’s never anything big, maybe like a sucker, or a packet of chips, or a boxed juice, but my kids are slowly learning that things that they have, some kiddies aren’t fortunate to have themselves. When we come across a little girl or boy that is in need, we can dig into the stockpile we have and hand it out. Not only is it a blessing to the little kiddie in need, but it’s a HUGE blessing to my two babies to see how much joy they bring to someone by just sharing something they take for granted everyday. Again, it’s being someone’s smile, even just for a few moments.
Being only 3 and 5 years old, my children still have so much to learn. They are only just beginning to find out what they’re capable of, and just because they’re tiny, doesn’t mean they can’t change the world for good, for Jesus. My kids and I have this little line we always say. I say to them “I may be small” and they end it off with “But with God’s help, I can do big things.” Me, as their mommy ~ I have to show them now that even the smallest things now, make an eternal impact ~ and that’s not restricted to their age at all. I pray every day that my kids, starting now at 3 and 5 years old, will start to realise the kind of impact they can make on the world.
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