Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Poor Man

We've spent almost our entire married life living in inner-city neighborhoods (by most suburbanite's standards, anyway). That means that we've also had our share of strangers knocking on our door at all hours of the day and night. We're firm believers in John 3:20, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." For that reason, we always leave our outside lights on. I know that's not exactly what that verse means, but the application really does work. People will stop at our house in the middle of the night because we have lights on. They assume that they will be safer there than at another house that is dark.

Anyway, the other day Jill was home with the boys and they were all outside. Our house used to be a business, so it has a fence that extends all the way out to the sidewalk and has three gates (one for each driveway and one for the sidewalk). A man stopped and asked if Jill could dial a number for him because he was having difficulty finding the place he was supposed to be. Jill and the boys went inside so she could get the cordless phone for him while he stood outside the gate. While inside, Nathan kept commenting about the poor man (with 'poor' obviously meaning 'not wealthy'). Jill told him that he shouldn't talk about the man like that because it wasn't nice.

That evening I asked Nathan how he knew the man was poor. He seemed to be pretty ashamed, but we really wanted to know because we have not taught him anything like that. His response was that the man was wearing funny clothes, they were gray and green. Jill told me that the man was wearing green khaki pants and a gray tee shirt. We assured Nathan that he wasn't in any trouble, we just wanted to know how he knew the man was poor.

We have been constantly amazed at the things that Nathan has learned outside of our home. It is always important to guard our children's minds and hearts and to teach them, not only how to function in the world, but also how to deal with bad situations that arise, how to deal with a wide variety of people, both similar and different than us, and how to know the proper things to say when interacting with someone that we don't know.

Originally published at The Dad's Group.