Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Ripple Effect

I saw Ryan back in February when Westbury Christian School celebrated our 40th birthday with a big reception. He graduated about ten years ago and I don't think I had seen him since. His mom had been a colleague of mine, even taking the pictures that adorn the cover of the book I penned. There was something new about Ryan this time around; a wife and the two precious little girls who were with them. He was all grown up with the responsibilities grown men take on. After the introductions, the talk turned to our Honduras collection which coincidentally turned 17 itself this year. As we did in Ryan's five years at WCS, our kids and staff save loose change to fund the building and sustaining of Christian orphanages in Honduras and now Haiti. Ryan and his lovely bride, Jo Lynn, both told me how much they wanted to get their daughters involved in good works like that one. Never being  one to pass up an opportunity to recruit penny collectors, I walked to my classroom and retrieved several of our bank bottles from years past along with wooden cross necklaces worn by our students for my two newest pint size buddies. They were delighted as were mom and dad. They promised to begin immediately and I told them I would be waiting. And I did... until this afternoon. 

Several days ago, Ryan sent me a Facebook message and asked when would be a good time to drop off the money they had accumulated. We came to a time mutally beneficial, this afternoon about three. All four of them come and they don't live close by. The older girl, KaiLynn, who is seven, was carrying her bank bottle with her sister, four year old Addison, more than willing to assist. I did the old acting like it was too heavy for me to carry routine and they laughed. We made the trip upstairs- Ryan wanted his family to see his old classroom. I talked to Jo Lynn about the mural of Jesus on our wall and how it was painted in sections by our own students who came from all parts of the globe. I asked KaiLynn if she wanted to dump the contents of their bottle into one of the five gallon receptacles we use- she did! As often happens, there was a spill and the girls giggled as they picked the pennies off the carpet. I had asked KaiLynn earlier if she knew how much was in their bottle. She looked at  her folks who told her and she repeated the amount- $327. That is no misprint. Ryan had relayed earlier how the girls fervently began looking for pennies. They even asked the wife of a contractor who was working on their home if they could search her car for change. Permission was granted and somehow, they came up with a $100 bill which was somehow matched and voila, KaiLynn and Addison deposited 1/3 of a thousand dollars for impoverished kids they will never meet! Jesus said little children have their angels who constantly see the face of the Father in heaven. My guess is there were some pretty big grins up there today about 3 PM, CST. I know there were in Room 258.

I taught Ryan twice, both in eighth grade and as a sophomore. I doubt when he was sorting and counting change that he had the thought that his daughters would follow in his steps. Nor did I as I was directing he and his classmates in our annual project. Things I heard from my teachers and coaches and parents did not register at first but they did make an impression. I cannot tell you how much I am impressed with Jo Lynn and Ryan, not just as believers but also as parents. They passed along that their goal is one day to have the girls at WCS- that just became my goal as well! I don't believe we become generous and compassionate accidentally. It is modeled at home each and every day and the result is children who put others first.  Their two have been listening. As we walked back downstairs, KaiLynn told me she loves basketball. What a coincidence- I coach basketball! We have so much in common!!! And my world got just a little bit brighter.

Applicable quote of the day:


David Barnett said...

Great story of the power of influence and legacy!

Renea Ivy said...

Beautiful, inspirational story about beautiful, inspirational people. I agree with D Barnett --- the power of influence and legacy. Deut. 11:18-21. Thank you for your influence Steve Hawley. You positively impact the lives of your students every day.