Teaching Kids to Give Back Through Your Actions

my worldLeaving a Legacy

The irony didn't hit me until late that night, when we were all tucked safely in bed.

We had driven Brent, a formerly homeless yet now rehabilitated friend, to Wal-Mart, to surprise him for his birthday. We share the same birth date, and I wanted to buy him a pair of sneakers. When we told him we were headed to Wal-Mart for a shopping spree, he beamed like a child!

My 5 and 7 year old picked out a few other things for Brent and when it was all said and done we'd purchased a cool George Foreman Grill, some khaki pants and a nice dress shirt for work, sneakers, and towels he said he didn't need (I kept them for my house!).

But then, as we were exiting the Wal-Mart in a popular Dallas suburb, a man approached. He asked if we could help him get some food.

the dinner invitation

"Do you need money?" I replied.

"Well, that's up to you," he said. "If you have any food it'll be just fine."

I reached into the car and pulled out $20. I normally don't give money to homeless people, but on this day I did.

Brent and I stood there in a circle in the parking lot and prayed with the man, along with my two young sons.

He smiled, tears in his eyes, and said goodbye.

We all piled into the car, but as we were driving off, Brent said, "Hey, why don't we take him with us to dinner."

It was Thanksgiving day, and we were about to go have a feast.

It seemed ironic that one homeless guy just getting back on his feet, would reach out to another.

At the dinner table, everyone feasted on turkey and mashed potatoes, with our new friend.  Anthony had been out of a job for a year, and living in an abandoned warehouse nearby. He told us a hilarious story about the day the warehouse manager discovered him sleeping in an empty office.

Luckily Anthony had cleaned the entire warehouse until it was spotless, and rather than being angry, the warehouse manager paid him for his work!

We learned about his daughter, and his new grand baby, who had been born blind. He didn't want his daughther to know about his dire situation, so like a lot of homeless fathers I've met, he's never told her he lives on the street..

'God bless you," he said, over and over. He was truly grateful to spend time with us, as a family on that day.  And my boys, who are very accustomed to sharing love and food and whatever we have with the less fortunate, thought it was just another day.

Giving back is the greatest legacy we can give our kids. It shows them that at the bottom, there's hope. In their darkest hour, love will prevail.

Tammy Kling

Tammy Kling is a mother and an author.

Her latest book, The Compass, is a transformational journey that guides people to access their dreams.  The companion documentary by the same name features world renowned speakers and motivators Brian Tracy, Les Brown, and Tammy Kling among others.

Tammy blogs at Escape Suburbia.

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