“Plant your feet, look them in the eye, and shake their hand.” This became a commonly repeated mantra at the Haag home when our boys, Ben and Brady, were little. When they were about five years old, we added, “Now ask the person you are meeting a question.” That was dangerous! You should have heard some of the things they asked: “How old are you?” and “How much money do you make?” Even though they laugh about it now, they also thank us that we repeated these phrases to them over and over when they were little. Now, as young adults, they don’t even have to think about it, they just do it!
Teaching kids to respect adults and engage in conversation seems to be a lost art. But you mommas of little ones, don’t lose heart. I promise those “say-please-and thank you” lessons from the preschool years will eventually stick! When my boys open the door for me or stand up at the table when I am sitting down, I have to admit, I love it. And it makes me proud of the well-mannered young men they have become.
Recently, I got a chance to be proud of the kids at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, too. We had a wonderful dedication of the newly renovated kitchen at the Emergency Shelter on our Lakeland campus. It melted my heart as I watched visitors walk through the door and instantly be met by one of our kids in the shelter. They were introducing themselves and giving each guest a tour. What a blessing! We are SO proud of our kids at FBCH! And, we are SO thankful for the training our Godly and dedicated houseparents give our kids. You see, at the FBCH, we aren’t just giving kids a place to live. God has given us the precious gift and privilege of raising them.
So, just like we did with our boys when they were little, the kids at FBCH are told to plant their feet, look an adult in the eye and firmly shake their hand. But, because these kids come from shaky, unstable situations, first we show them that the FBCH is a safe place. Today, from my window on the FBCH Lakeland campus where Jerry and I live, I saw four of our little ones riding their bikes, a few others were laughing and kicking a soccer ball, and another little girl was pulling a wagon. I just stood and smiled, overflowing with gratitude that God allows us to give these kids a safe and loving home where they can play and where seeds of His love can be planted into their lives.
Will you join with me in praying that every child under our care will see that God loves them and firmly grasp that in His hands there is hope and healing?
Together for His Children,