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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Givens

Little Boy Wisdom

Over the last week, we’ve been traveling to several different places: Iowa, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. All of this has been in order to obtain our French visas in time to leave as scheduled on July 31. All this travel in such a short period of time has been exhausting for all of us. Our kids have been whiney, and they have definitely seen some of the darker aspects of their parents’ personalities.

Despite all the tiredness and grumpiness, we have had the opportunity to see some special traits that are developing in our children. Micaiah is a loving, caring boy, who always wants to make people feel better. He also really loves playing with and talking to babies. I’ve never seen a little boy his age take such an interest in the suffering of others and genuinely want to make them feel better. We pray this compassion stays with him his whole life.

But I want to spend most of this post talking about Elijah.

Elijah is growing up to be quite a personable young man. He is able to sit down beside someone and simply strike up a conversation by asking them questions and telling them about himself and the things that he and his family are up to. We were able to witness this on several occasions during our travels.

Once, we were standing at the streetcar stop in Atlanta, waiting to take the train from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to the visa application center. There was an elderly man with a cane who walked over to wait for the train and leaned up against the wall. He commented about how hot it was that day, and Elijah immediately went over and introduced himself. The man told him that he is on is way to a doctor appointment, and that he lives in a tent village up the road. Elijah asked him what it was like. The man told him that he needs to stay in school so that he doesn’t end up living in a tent when he’s an old man. Elijah continued talking to him until the train arrived and we boarded.

Another time, we were sitting at Five Points Station in downtown Atlanta, once again waiting for the train. An older man was sitting on one of the benches waiting. Elijah sat down near him and struck up a conversation. The man told Elijah his name was Wayne, and Elijah introduced himself and the rest of us. Elijah learned that we were going to the same station as the man and was very excited. When the train arrived Elijah sat next to Wayne the whole 25 minute train ride and talked with him. He learned about Wayne’s 8 year old grandson that’s just learning to skateboard. Wayne showed him videos of his grandson skateboarding. Wayne also pointed out he place where horses are stabled just outside Atlanta. He told us that he knows about all the things kids like to do in Atlanta because he’s a grandpa. We got the chance to share a little bit about our ministry with Wayne as well.

I bring all this up to say that I hope Elijah always has this kind of friendly, approachable personality and interest in other people. Once, when we were eating at Subway, a man was struggling carting in delivery crates from the soda company. Elijah went to open the door for him each time he went back and forth to his truck. He kept getting up from the table to rush over and open the door. We told Elijah that it’s never wrong to help other people, a lesson I hope he always carries in his heart.

I was tired when he sat down to talk to Wayne, and I would have preferred not to talk to anyone. However, I never want to hinder Elijah from being friendly or living out that part of his personality. The more he meets new people, the more he’ll learn from them and the more he’ll be able to bless them, like I’m sure he did for the individuals whose stories I’ve shared here. In fact, I think I could stand to learn something from Elijah: maybe I need to be more intentional about reaching out to strangers. After all, aren’t they also people created in the Image of God?

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