Kids say the darndest things.

Do you remember that old comedy series? The one hosted by comedian Bill Cosby in the late 90s? Bill Cosby would ask a few children – usually between the ages of 3 and 8 – several innocent questions throughout the course of the hour-long program. The children would then respond to the questions, usually in the most unexpected and adorable ways. Each response incited great laughter from the audience and – most often – an embarrassed, did-my-child-really-just-say-that? stare from the parents.

A great example here.

Kids say the darndest things.

But they also ask some incredibly apt and appropriate questions too. Kids are curious and smart. They’re observant, and at some point in their young life – inevitably – they’ll probably notice the man or woman on the street corner and ask why?

When that happens, we’re here to help.

Here are several points to consider when you’re addressing the realities of poverty and homelessness with your children:

  • People fall into homelessness for a variety of reasons. Unexpected life events are most often the cause. What would happen if you lost your job? Or received a sudden medical bill? What would happen if you lost everything you had in a house fire?
  • Stereotypes concerning the homeless are not always accurate. There are actually a lot of kids who are homeless. Even in Grand Rapids. A student in your child’s class may be homeless. Read more about the more than 50 children at our Mission here.
  • But there is hope in the cycle and struggle of homelessness. A lot of good people and organizations are working to end homelessness in Grand Rapids and across the nation. Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.18.05 AMThese folks – like Mel Trotter – are helping the homeless find jobs and housing every single day.
  • God loves us regardless of what we have – or don’t have. The homeless are loved just as much as those who have homes and cars and jobs.
  • Which is why we need to help the homeless. And there’s a lot of ways we can do that. Is our closet full of clothes we no longer wear? Is there food in our pantry that we could easily give away? Is there time in our schedule to volunteer? Is there room in our prayer life to lift up the homeless?

Questions? You can always talk to us. If a book would be helpful, consider The Berenstain Bears Help the Homeless, written by Jan Berenstain, or Hank the Homeless Pooch, written by John R. Erickson.

Posted by:Mel Trotter Ministries

Mel Trotter Ministries exists to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ to the hungry, homeless, and hurting in Grand Rapids area.

2 replies on “How to Talk to Your Kids About Homelessness

  1. I bet many of the kids living at Mel Trotter are under 12 years old. I would love to get my kids involved with volunteering and helping the homeless at Mel Trotter, but they are younger than the age requirement. Is there a way for young kids to volunteer? Maybe in some way geared directly toward their peers who are currently homeless? Something to think about.

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  2. Hi Amy! Thanks for writing and for so graciously offering to volunteer. You’re correct in that a majority of our volunteer opportunities are not quite appropriate for younger children. However, there is a definite possibility we can get you plugged in somewhere. We will pass your information along to Tiffany Smith, our volunteer coordinator, and Barb Nicholson, one of our Family Advocates. These two ladies will be able to identify an opportunity within our children’s program. Thanks again for your message! We’ll look forward to seeing you at the Mission!

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