Today, our family went out to the city for a lovely outing. The weather was lovely and cool, and the city itself was not overcrowded. This usually means that if and when our youngest two run off in the crowd, we can still generally see them at a distance and not go through a blind panic trying to find them.
But as usual when we visit the city, we notice a lot of people sitting on the sides. These people are disheveled, unkept and sometimes holding up a cardboard sign asking for money. Some draw on cards and try to sell them. Some have a pet. But most are ignored.
Today, I brought my 5 year old son and my 3 year old daughter to meet and greet some of the homeless. We chatted to a lovely man who had a dog named Bella. We saw a man drawing intricate drawings on small cards. We wanted to find a regular homeless man named Graham Pierce. Graham has cerebral palsy.
The saddest thing to see is seeing people walking by these people, like they are invisible. My heart hurts for them, because in the end, they are in fact, people, just like we are. Somehow, life got the better of them and this is their only option. Whether it is in their minds through mental illness, domestic violence or they were given no choice, they are in this place.
The loveliest thing to witness was seeing my children speaking to these people, like they were friends; with respect, smiles and the pure non-judgemental innocence of a child. It was simply beautiful.
If a child can just speak to these people and make their worlds a little more bearable, I wonder what we can do as adults. Sometimes the teaching is not just from parent to child, but the other way around.