A Worthy Earthly Goal for Our Children

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Boy driving a laundry wagon, May 1916, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine. Courtesy Library of Congress.

For many years, Ray and I traveled to homeschooling conventions—from Boston to Orlando to Anaheim. We have seen the inside of many hotels (though in the very early years when we were trying to figure out what we were doing, we once drove through the night to the Home Educators Association of Virginia convention in Richmond to keep from having to spend money on a hotel—those were fun days!).

One morning, when we walked into the hotel hall to leave for the day, I noticed a middle-aged man pushing a large laundry cart. I was surprised to see a man of his age doing this particular job. When he got near us, he said, “You are two sharply-dressed people.”

“Thank you,” we replied.

While Ray went to pull up the van, I waited at the lobby door with our portable battery and our rolling cart of convention supplies. When Ray got to the door, this white-haired gentleman rolled the battery outside for me. He commented on our big vehicle. I explained that we sell books. “What kind of books?” he asked.

“Books for people who homeschool their children,” I replied.

“Do a lot of people do that?” he asked.

I told him that we were in town for a homeschool book fair and that there would be several thousand people there. He said, “That’s nice.”

I told him that I hoped he had a good day. He gave us wishes for a nice day, too, and said, “Y’all are nice people.”

This kind man was succeeding at a job that fit well with his mental abilities. He reminded me of what Jesus said about becoming like children. Childlike. That is a good way to describe him. Except for his outward appearance, I don’t imagine that he has changed much since he was a child. I am guessing that there were times when his mama worried about her son’s future, but on this day he was doing honorable work, finding ways to help, and brightening the day for two travelers. What a worthy earthly goal for any of our children—or for ourselves, for that matter.

And He called a child to Himself
and set him before them, and said,
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted
and become like children,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever then humbles himself as this child,
he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:2-4

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