Our world trip was intended to help us conquer our fears. For years, we had been terrified to let ourselves live life. We couldn’t ever bear to lose another child and we knew we needed to conquer our fears or fear would become a part of our boys’ lives. The only way to conquer fear, is to face it.
In one of Colton’s post-trip interviews, he said: “I thought we would be in some trouble when we went to China. Turns out, I was wrong.” I would love to know what was in the back of his mind, but sometimes digging deeper still doesn’t allow you to understand why a kid feels afraid. Children learn so much from the behavior of their parents.
Our family tried to diminish the fears by educating ourselves; but, for us, the fact remained: we were going into a communistic country, with no cell phones, no interpreters, and no transportation. Excitement was tinged with tension. How would the kids respond to strangers with different shaped faces and eyes, different cultures, different languages?
It was up to us to set the example.
This week, we were all horrified by the incidents in Orlando as we saw the ultimate damage of hatred. I believe it all starts with respect.
Someone (I wish it had been me) came up with a lesson to help kids see beyond the wrapper. Gather a group of kids together, hand them each a lemon. Tell them: “Get to know your lemon. Toss it up, smell it, throw it around, roll it — just play with it! Engage!” After 10 minute of lemon-interaction, take the lemons back, put them in a basket and ask the kids to find their lemon. Surprisingly, most kids know their lemon immediately, by the size, texture, dents, bruises, shapes and shades of color. Don’t let this opportunity slip by. Spark conversation on the differences in people which, of course, still makes them people.
Then, collect the lemons again. This time, peel them and return them to the basket. Tell the kids what you did, and again ask them to find their lemon. Responses are priceless! “They all look alike without their skin.” (Here’s where you bring home your lesson) People, like lemons, are the same on the inside. And that is the part that matters.
And lemons are like people; the only way to really get to know them, is by engaging!
I’m so glad we did.
Have a safe, engaging weekend.