In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in August, 2005, survivors were at the top of all our prayer lists.
Sometimes, we, as adults, miss the observations kids make about disasters and world problems. Kids can show a depth of understanding that is truly remarkable.
The week after Katrina, when I was sitting with Zac (age 11) Max (age 8 ) and Ally (age 7), I asked them if they were aware of the disaster that had happened. They all said they were and their mom had helped them to pray for all the people. I asked them to momentarily, in their mind, be ‘there’ and think about what would people need, more than anything else, if they were in that position.
I reminded them that people had been living on a concrete bridge with hundreds of other folks for several days, the temperatures were in the 90’s, there was no food, water, privacy, no toilet paper or bathrooms. No light, no fans, no radios or TVs, no clean clothes. Faced with so much need, if you could take these folks anything that you could carry to them, what would you take them and what would you tell them?
After thought, Zac said he’d take them a hamburger, a drink and a Bible and he would tell them to eat and drink first; then read the Bible so they’d have hope. Max said he’d go to each and every person and pick them up and hug them tight and tell them it was going to be ok, just be patient–and then he’d ask them if they had Jesus in their heart. Ally said she’d take them (her favorite) bubble bath and really pretty clean clothes and then she would sit with them and just be quiet and listen to them talk about it.
What I found truly amazing was the responses given , later that night, on the news, as some of the hurricane refugees were interviewed . When the folks were asked what they wanted more than anything, the most common answers were: food and drink, a Bible, clean clothes—and a bath. When the folks were asked what they wanted to do more than anything, most of them said, “hug and kiss my kids (or mom, dad, grandmother—) again.
Don’t ever think kids don’t understand what’s going on and don’t ever think they are too little to know what’s important. As adults, sometimes we focus on the ‘extras’ and leave out the basics. Perhaps that is why Jesus said that in order to enter the kingdom of God, you must have the heart of a child?
(Luke 18:17) I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.