We can take them breakfast

The innocence of kids. It blows me away sometimes.

Yesterday evening was one of those times. Having picked the boy up from his grandmother’s, where he had spent an exciting afternoon mainly eating, playing snap and eating, we were on our way home via the M3 and then slipping down the Constantia Main Road off-ramp. At the lights on the junction, I saw a mother and her two kids sitting by the side of the road, begging.

Sadly, this isn’t an unusual sight in South Africa, but I have seen this lady here before. She has two daughters – almost exactly the same ages as our two kids (3¾ & 1½, for new readers). And that kind of makes it a bit more personal.
As it happened, I had a small packet of sweets with me which I had planned to share with Alex, but given his gastronomic exploits throughout the afternoon, I had thought better of that idea. Thus, the kids by the side of the road became the grateful beneficiaries of a packet of candy polar bears. Seeing the young girls’ delight at the quickly opened packet and its contents brought a lump to my throat. So I probably wasn’t ideally prepared for what followed.

As the lights changed and we headed home, Alex piped up.

“Why did you give the lady some sweets?”
“Because the lady and her children were hungry.”
“Where do those children live, Daddy?”
“I don’t think they have a home, Alex.”
“So where do they sleep then?”
“I think they sleep wherever they can find some shelter.”
“And where do they eat breakfast?”
“I don’t think they have breakfast, Alex. That’s why they are hungry.”

There was a brief pause in the inquisition from the back seat.

“I’ve got an idea, Daddy. We can take them breakfast.”

And despite the much deeper issues that lie behind their situation, Alex was right: We can take them breakfast.
And because I’m a great believer in actions speaking louder than words, this Saturday, we’re going to take that mother and her kids some breakfast. Yes, I recognise that this isn’t a solution; I know that it won’t solve anything other than their hunger that day, but it will at least solve that.  

And when u-turn finally get back to me (hello?!?), we’ll maybe be able to help them out a little more.

7 thoughts on “We can take them breakfast

  1. Dude that’s awesome man. I agree with your end bit. I get shat on by people to stop telling me to give shit away because there is no long term soluition, ra ra ra. It solves something immediate that day.

  2. I love it that children remind us that actually, life *is* simple, and it’s us, the grown-ups who make it all complicated! I think what you’re doing is fabulous, and hopefully Alex will grow up thinking it’s the norm, rather than “special”. I hope you get some help from u-turn too!
    .-= Helga Hansen´s last blog ..Frosty February =-.

  3. You’re bringing that lad up well, and I applaud these little acts of kindness.

    The world would be a better place if we all did small things like that, things that we actually can do, rather than just shaking our heads at the magnitude of the underlying problems.

    Maybe I need to look again at how I run my life …
    .-= Ro´s last blog ..Conversations on a Train =-.

  4. It does do something long term… it teaches your kid to keep recognising underprivileged people that are living around him, and there are ways he can use what he has to help them.

    Social welfare can exist on a personal level, not just through the state, and on that personal level, all the better when it is a daily habit… which happens when started early in one’s life.

    Good for you. And you make the woman feel valued. That she is worth care & support.
    .-= Champagne Heathen´s last blog ..Is that what I think it is… haven’t seen 1 for so long… =-.

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