Last night my small group from church talked about living out our Christianity every day. What does that mean? Well it means acting Christ-like every day in everything you do. Stepping up to help when you see an opportunity - some one struggling with groceries on the street, a neighbor who can't rake their own leaves, actually NOT getting angry at someone who is tailgating you, but blessing them instead (ya, I struggle with that one too). A big part of our discussion was those so called "little" acts of kindness vs. the big ones like adopting an inner-city elementary school class or working for a soup kitchen, etc.
What I think it really comes down to though is living like a Christian every minute of the day, not thinking that you are doing something kind or not, but that you are just being you - a Christian, isn't that what being a Christian is? If you act "Christ-like" during church activities but not during the rest of your life - is that emulating Christ? I don't think so.
So - what does this have to do with the next generation being "brats"? Well, today I actually got "tested" on my discussion from last night. Zach's school sells hoagies every month. They have volunteers who put the hoagies together on Wednesday afternoon and people pick them up Wednesday evening beginning at 4pm. I came by a little after 4pm and the volunteers were still putting the hoagies together. So I put my things down, told Zach to go play with the other kids and asked how I could help. I saw a need - they were behind and looked stressed - it seemed natural to step up and help. The volunteers were very thankful - I mean overly thankful. I said, "well, what I'm going to see you in need and say, 'I'll be back later have fun making hoagies?" But apparently that's what several of the other parents said who stopped by to pick up their hoagie orders. Wow. Ok, well maybe they were busy.
I put on my plastic gloves and started making hoagies. Sure enough, parents started coming in to pick up their hoagies heard that we were running behind and started sighing, complaining, yelling, everything BUT offering to help. One mother in particular had been there about an hour - she never helped mind you, just watched us all work, then asked me how long we were going to be. I told her I didn't know but if she wanted to help it would go faster. Oh no, she said, she'd already worked 7 hours that day and driven a long way to get there, she was tired. Uh-huh. Let's see, the woman I was wrapping hoagies with works nights, goes to school two days a week, has two children she picks up every day at school and is at every single event I have ever seen or heard of for St. Joe's. Give me a break. But that's how the story went all evening. At one point we had about 15 parents lined up waiting for their hoagie orders complaining, talking about how horrible we all were (right in front of us), rolling eyes, making faces, etc., but not one offer of help from them.
I guess what really burns me is this is a Christian school. We send our children to this school to be in an environment of Christian love and learning. But all the school can do is re-enforce - it has to start at home. I promised Zachary when we were done picking up the hoagies we ordered that we would go on an errand to buy Hot Wheels cars (Zach had saved his own money to buy these), when we got to the school and I saw that we needed to help I told him that was more important than buying toys right then, we would go when we were done. Zach didn't like it, but that's a lesson he has to learn - sometimes others needs come before our own wants. If those 15 parents had stepped up to help rather than disparage we would have been done in a half hour. Instead we were there until 7pm. So parents, if you wonder why your or other's children are selfish, impatient, perhaps you should look to yourselves first. When you have the opportunity to help do you step up or step in it?