A Happy Childhood

One of my many blessings is that I had a happy childhood.  I ‘m so thankful that my parents were Christians who took me to church.  I learned about Jesus and what was right and wrong.  I had a huge extended family that showed me unconditional love.

This brings me to the point of this message.  Many children do not have happy, secure, loving home lives.  As a teacher I have seen many children who are sad because of broken families, alcohol, and drug abuse.  Many are being raised by single parents, grandparents, aunts, or foster parents.

During my 28 year career as a teacher I saw many students who were negatively affected by a difficult home life.  Now as a substitute I see this problem getting worse.  I often have students make comments about their home life.

I’m going to share 4 conversations that I’ve had recently with children that have broken my heart.

 

boys-in-creekThe first incident happened near my house.  On a very cool day there were children playing in the little creek by my house.  They were out there for hours.  I saw no parents or adults around which is unusual these days. Finally I went out to talk to them.  One little boy’s tennis shoes were so wet and muddy that he had taken them off.  I told him, “Your mom is going to be so upset about your shoes.”   He replied, “I don’t have a mom.”  Later I found our his mom was in rehab and he lived with his grandfather.  How sad that a mother puts her drug habit ahead of her children.  The people who don’t work with children don’t realize how often this happens.  Prayers for this child, his mom, and his grandpa.

Another sad conversation occured at the end of the school year while I was substituting in a first grade class room.  The assignment was to complete a four part organizer for writing.  They were to list or draw 4 things they planned to do over summer break.  Most kids wrote about going on vacation, riding their bikes, or visiting grandma.  One little boy drew four pictures all pertaining to his dad.  I sat down beside him while asking him what his scribbly drawings were.

Here’s what he said they were.

  1. Fishing and hunting with his dad.
  2. His dad taking him to shoot guns.
  3. Riding a four-wheeler with his dad.
  4. Hanging out with his dad.

It was obvious that he didn’t see his father very often.  I quietly asked him if he lived with his dad to which he responded, “No.”  I asked him if he saw him very often.  He stated,  “I see him sometimes.”

This scenario broke my heart.  I could sense the yearning the boy had to spend quality time with his dad.  I pray that this little guy got to spend time with his father.

The next incident happened in a third grade classroom.  A sweet 8 year old girl was writing in her journal.  The assignment was to write a story that starts with “I wish…”sad-girl

She wrote about how she wished her grandpa hadn’t left her grandma.  Then about how her grandpa kept his house cleaner than her own house was.  She continued on about how she wished she could go see her grandpa.

Needless to say she was affected by divorce.  I’m sure she missed the security of having grandparents in a loving marriage.  I just can’t imagine my grandparents being apart.  How fortunate I was to have grandparents who loved one another and me.

The last child I’m going to tell you about was a little boy in the second grade.  For some unknown reason he told me he lived with his dad and step-mother.  He proceeded to tell me that his mom lived out of state, and he didn’t see her very often.  The reason being that her husband wasn’t very nice to him.

Oh, the emotional pain these kids go through is heartbreaking.  This made me think about how much I love my children and my husband.  It reminded me that I would never allow a man to be mean to my children.  Also, I have always loved my children so much that I would never have wanted to live in another state without them.

Please say a little prayer for this boy, his mom, and step-dad.

What can be done to help these children? Maybe you can be a mentor for a child who is in a bad situation.  CASA is an organization that helps foster children. casa You could be a CASA volunteer or donate to this group.  Could you be a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization or lead a Boy or Girl Scout troop?  We all could get an angel off one of the trees in your local stores.  angel-treeJust showing kindness to a little child may make them a little happier for a while.

If you had a happy childhood, you should thank your parents if they are still living.  If not, you may want to share with a loved one how special your childhood was, and tell them how thankful you are for it.  Unfortunately many children can not say they are thankful for a happy childhood.  Thank God,  I am one who had a happy, secure childhood.

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