These are the words that catapulted me into the arms of Desire Street Ministries.
I was volunteering about eight years ago at a Christmas party for inner-city children of all shapes, ages, and sizes and the party was over. Moms were arriving to pack up the kids and the gifts, and head for home.
A young mom was gathering up her three young children after what must have been a very long work day and she was trying to catch a bus home. She was tired, the kids were tired, and there were some tears as I recall. I’ll never forget her words to the oldest as he resisted leaving …“be big, you’re 4.”
It struck me in that moment that no one should have to be big when they are 4. It broke my heart that, due to lack of resources, children living in impoverished neighborhoods must grow up way too early. That made me realize that I wanted to use my very limited gifts and talents hopefully to make the world just a little bit better.
Please understand that I am not passing judgment on this young woman. I have not walked a mile, much less two steps, in her moccasins as they say. I don’t know how many hours she had to work that day and what she was facing on the journey home, or when she reached her destination. This message isn’t about her or any other single moms who have so many demands on them. The message is about hope and a way to help.
The message is that there are leaders across our country who are doing great work to help families like this one, and thousands more like them, and I’m so thankful that they are willing to put their lives and the lives of their families on the line to make a difference 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I am grateful to work for an organization that supports leaders who are helping parents like these and allowing 4-year-olds to be 4 (or 5-year-olds to be 5 …) Our ministry partners are giving these children hugs, homework help, nutritious snacks, field trips, a listening ear, the love of Jesus.
You are helping Desire Street develop thriving, sustainable leaders and I’m thankful for you.