The next time you’re tempted to write off the upcoming generations as disrespectful, self-absorbed, or even downright rude, please consider these kids first:
- The 30-40 elementary students who dragged their parents to a book-signing event on a gorgeous Saturday in June, first to sit through a talk and then to stand in a long, long line;
- The preschoolers who colored pictures for me or who drew “owl” after “owl”;
- The 2nd grader who consulted YouTube—on her own—to learn how to draw the fabulous owl at the top of this post, and then who insisted on spending her own hard-won tooth-fairy money on her own copies of her aunts’ new books;
- The 3rd grader who visited grandparents in Lithuania this summer, and spent some of the souvenir money they gave her on a carved wooden owl because she wanted Mrs. Anderson to have it;
- The 5th grader who wore a sparkly owl t-shirt and owl necklace on the first “library day” of the year, and when I commented on how nice they were, she told me, “I read your book”;
- The 16-year-old who spent most of her summer earnings on two beautiful bouquets to add to a special celebration.
Finally, especially, please consider the actions of a high school hockey team this week. A full-of-life, college-aged, former member of that team died tragically in an accident. The entire current team—most of whom had just heard of Gregory, but didn’t know him personally—gathered together in their jerseys at the funeral home to enter together to pay their respects. For over four hours, these students, along with old high school friends, college friends, friends of the family, and community members streamed in to support the family and each other.
I’m sure it wasn’t easy for a lot of these kids. For many, I’m sure it was downright painful or even scary. But they came.
Experiencing the generosity of children of all ages—the gifts of their time, gifts of sacrifice, gifts of love and thoughtfulness–is a unique and very special blessing. And while I couldn’t be there myself, it is another blessing to hear of the outpouring of love and respect shown by many more children and young adults to the family of a young man named Gregory.
May his devastated family and their friends (including siblings of mine) find some comfort in their kindness, and may they find peace in the source of all love and generosity, the loving arms of God:
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13.
For friends new to this blog, I post an article on Sundays on themes in the novels: faith, friendship, diversity, etc. “Wednesday’s Word” is a weekly Bible audio clip that rotates between Genesis, Luke and Psalms. Occasionally, I post “Wednesday’s Word to the Free,” a short Bible passage on what it means to be free. Freedom is a very big concern to Timley Mouse, the tiniest character in my novel, Sophie’s Quest.
Notice: Wednesday’s Word is taking a hiatus for the summer. See you in the fall!