Yesterday our church sponsored a Walk4Water to bring awareness of the need for clean water in the world. Participants carried buckets of water two miles to experience something of the same physical discomfort that those in parts of the world without a close water source might experience. Money was raised from sponsors of the event and from the registrations to build a well in Zambia where the need is great.
I loved watching the families participate together. To see these young kids learn early that not everyone gets to turn on a tap and drink clean water from it. Not everyone has ice cold water coming from the front of their refrigerator. Not everyone has a water hose connected to the house easily attached to a sprinkler and instant summer fun.
I was reminded the importance of creating spaces where kids can experience and learn. Where, for at least a short period of time, they have empathy for those with less.
As I watched these young kids- some four year olds- trudging along with their parents, I was reminded that teaching kids is much more than having them repeat a prayer to become a Christ follower. It is experiencing suffering and life as Jesus would have. It is teaching them to care about others in the same way that Jesus cared. It certainly is bringing them along side us and allowing them to join in the suffering.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25: 35-36