Last night at about 10:00pm I was exiting Walmart. Now, I know better than to shop at this particular Walmart at this particular hour, but somehow that knowledge slipped my mind. As I exited the store I watched a little boy no older than 8 walk up to a man in front of me and ask for a dollar. The man refused without looking at the boy and kept walking. The little boy was clean and well-kept, not your typical pan-handler.
I watched him walk back behind a column to his mother and older brother. I proceeded about 10 more feet and then turned around. I approached the mother and asked her what she needed a dollar for. Her answer did not satisfy my need to know that my cash wouldn't support a drug habit. The story involved a need for $30 to help their family return to their home in West Virginia. How could $30 get them that far? It certainly did not add up. Further questioning increased my suspicions.
I could not fathom utilizing my children in this manner, regardless of my circumstances. I wanted to be angry with the mother. I wanted to shake her and demand that she shield her children from this matter. Protect them! Then, I decided, at that moment, that I wanted the boys to remember not the shame of asking strangers for money, but that there are good people in the world.
I gathered all of the cash I had in my wallet, which wasn't much, and offered it to the little brother. His face lit up and he jumped up slightly! That made the situation worse from where I stood. I smiled brightly to the boys, looked each one in the face hoping to impart their value in taking the time to acknowledge them. The mother didn't thank me.
I walked to my car wondering if I should have done more. Could I have filled their gas tank? Did they have a car? Should I have re-entered the store and bought some food? Should I have questioned the mother further? I probably didn't do enough. However, for a moment I know those little boys felt like valuable little people. I prayed for that family as I drove home. "Father protect those boys, bring others to them to help raise them up in the way they should go. Help them to realize their potential and value to this world. Father, bless me abundantly so that in the future I can make a bigger difference in this situation."