Recently I was contacted by a Mum whose 5 year old daughter wanted to do something to help homeless people.
What struck me was that their family situation is not at all easy – the daughter has additional needs and the family don’t have a permanent home themselves at the moment and are staying with relatives.
She wrote to me to explain why her daughter wanted to do something:
“On a Sunday morning at church, a homeless guy came into the service and started shouting. My daughter was scared and wanted to leave, but we said it was OK as people helped him to calm down and act appropriately. It’s pretty common for vulnerable people to come into church as it’s linked to a centre which cares for homeless, addicts, street-workers and those who are lonely.
On the way home we talked about what happened and about homelessness and connected issues and my daughter said that she wants to raise money to help people with no homes. We talked about doing something she was good at, so she went home, found her favourite picture and said she wanted to sell it.
She loves making art, but is a bit of a hoarder so it is a big deal for her to part with her favourite painting. It showed me how much she wanted to help.
What made me think most is that we don’t have our own home, or even much of our own head-space at the moment. Life is hard in many ways, yet she wants to help others. Her desire to help others hit me like a sucker-punch…how much do I hold onto things because I think I deserve it or an entitled to it when other people are in greater need?”
Hope in action
Appropriately enough the daughter’s name is Hope.
Her offer (and name) made me think about how vital it is that we teach younger people that they CAN make a difference to other people’s lives. This is hope in action. As grown-ups its easy to become weary or cynical and younger people can be a real example to us.
It reminded me of the brilliant song ‘Naughty’ from the musical Matilda which has a great message:
Just because you find that life’s not fair it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
Nothing will change.
Even if you’re little, you can do a lot, you
Mustn’t let a little thing like, ‘little’ stop you
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Might as well be saying
You think that it’s ok
And that’s not right!
‘Hope is creative’
Hope is a vital ingredient of change. The former head of Christian Aid, Michael Taylor, wrote this in his book, Poverty and Christianity:
“By choosing to believe that the world has possibilities, possibilities arise where otherwise they would not have done…By regarding the world we know, marked by the chaos of insecurity, poverty and injustice, as promising and acting accordingly, it is filled with promise. Hope is creative. It is not the child of transformation. Transformation is the child of hope.”
Buy Hope’s picture…
We are auctioning Hope’s picture for WLM’s work with homeless people. It will come framed and signed by the artist and be sent to the highest bidder.
The bidding starts at £20 and will close on October 30th at 12.00 noon. To make a bid, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
…or sponsor our Sleep Out…
If you are not able make a bid for the picture, another option is to sponsor my daughter Jenna (aged 9) who is sleeping out Friday 13th October with me at WLM’s Annual Sleep Out in central London. We are aiming to raise £1000 to go towards WLM’s work to bring homeless people in off the streets. Click here to sponsor us.