an angel came over to our house

update: deb was kind enough to check my spelling and grammar. she also corrected the story a little. (angel didn’t litter, it was the kid next to him. angel actually pressured him to pick it up after deb confronted them)
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our home is located at the entrance to a neighborhood. so when school lets out we get quite a bit of foot traffic out in front of our house. we also have a very large window in our living room. a few days ago around 3.40 pm we were just sitting and talking in the living room when deb sees a couple of kids (elementary age) walk by. one of them is unwrapping some sort of candy or just finished drinking something . . . in any case he litters and drops the wrapper/can on the road in front of our house.

well i was surprised at how quickly deborah shot off the couch to confront this delinquent child :-). he respectfully went and picked it up. the kid walking next to him was quick to tell her, “i know anna’s in there.”

it turns out this kid (his name is Angel) is in anna’s class. at first this seemed kinda creepy. why was this kid stalking anna? but then a few minutes later (as i was headed out the door for another event at 4pm) he showed up on our door step asking if he could ‘visit’ with anna. my response . . . ?

“sure come right in.” and then i left. angel walked right in to our living room and deb and the girls were left staring at me wondering “why’d you let this kid in??” (angel’s in anna’s class but i don’t think they’re friends at all, let alone best friends)

it turns out that angel had asked his mom if he could come over. she said he could for 20 minutes. deb wasn’t really sure what to do, so she sent all the kids to the back yard to play for the whole time.

so what on earth would possibly possess my mind to invite this kid, whom i’d never seen before, into our home without really consulting my wife? well, first of all he’s a 1st grader, so how much fear of strangers should we have of a 6 year old?

but, more importantly, i want our kids to be comfortable around others. now, i have no idea whether angel is a christian or church goer or of any faith. but i don’t think that should be a litmus test for who our kids can have as friends or not.

a little background: growing up i think that i was given conflicting messages; not intentionally, and i’m not blaming my parents. in fact i didn’t realize this consciously until this past week when i was going to write this post about angel coming.

my mom told us, as we were growing up, that she believed that as christians the public school was our mission field. we should try to reach out to our friends and others and share Christ with them. and we heard this repeated at church from our sunday school teachers, youth leaders, pastors, etc.

but my father, on the other hand, wouldn’t allow us to spend the night at other’s houses. he certainly didn’t want other people’s kids over at our house to spend the night. he used to say, “they have a bed and a house with a roof, they can sleep there. and you have a bed and a house with a roof, you can sleep here.

he didn’t even really like us going to our friend’s houses to play for very long and vice versa. and i’m not totally sure about the motives, perhaps he was just trying to be protective. i know that i’m somewhat reserved about letting our kids go to other’s people’s house. i have to consciously tell myself that for all the “bad” people in the world and all the horror stories we hear on the evening news there are way more ‘good’ parents out there just like us. and perhaps they are hesitant about letting their kid come over to our house. naturally we like to meet the parents before sending our kids anywhere, i’m not talking about being irresponsible.

but back to angel . . . i want our home to be one of those homes where kids/people like to hang out. the house that all the other kids are asking if they can “go over to the laras house”.

because, i see in myself the same conflicting messages from my childhood playing in my head all the time. on one hand, i want to be comfortable in talking to others about my faith. but on the other hand, i just don’t like talking to other people (strangers) that much. i don’t know what to talk to them about. i’m amazed when i see other people that seem to strike up a conversation so easily with someone they just met. (kudos to you jorge)

in fact, just the other day we went to costco for some of their excellent kosher beef hot dogs and a soft drink (for only $1.50!) and we were trying to find a place to sit. we finally found a table that we and the kids all huddled around. i saw an elderly gentleman sitting by himself at a table next to us. then i saw another guy, who also seemed to be alone, ask if he could sit at his table with him; even though there were several other tables available. this struck me as odd, because if i were alone i would never do something like that. they had a good conversation, and then the second guy must have been in a hurry because he left. and guess what. another guy came and asked if he could sit with him too!

this old guy didn’t look like mr. popular to me. but for some reason others felt comfortable approaching him to eat lunch together. and he felt comfortable enough to allow them to.

now i wouldn’t say that i “fear” strangers. but i think that i do have an unmerited distrust of them. and further more i think that i’ve noticed that more christians have this same attitude than non-christians. i think we’ve i’ve read the verses about being “in the world but not of it” and put a little too much emphasis on the “not of it” part.

so that was a long story to say that i want our kids to love people not distrust them, to talk to people not just about them, to be friends with people not just friendly to them.

come on over angel, you’re welcome any time!

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// today i'm thankful for:
1. costco hot dogs
2. understanding spanish
3. not having credit card debt
4. biblegateway.com
5. my grammar checking wife