Last night we had friends for supper for a “visioning session” of sorts for our new non-profit. To be honest, going into the evening I was quite overwhelmed by the prospect of having a vision for anything other than my pajamas and a Netflix binge. Everything within my life has seemed to become a monumental project of epic proportion.
Down to one car, we are struggling to share a commute spread apart by 30 miles and the sprawling city of Atlanta. It is Noah’s senior year and there is much to do to ready him for his next transition – not to mention securing him a vehicle for purchase so that he can participate in a work-study program after the new year. Everything at our rental home is broken, leaking or caving in. It doesn’t seem the wise time to begin another project of any size.
Thankfully, it didn’t take very much discussion to be reminded of why The Sparrow’s Nest needs to come to be. Because everyone around the table has decided to live a daily life tightly connected to their value system, we could laugh at being called “a liberal” for taking public transit to work. We bemoaned the impact poor nutrition, as well as food deserts, are having on communities. Then we confessed how many times a day we might actually make a grocery store run simply out of convenience. As we practiced our faith out loud around our supper table, many of the conversations I’ve had with my students replayed in my mind.
While playing out on the playground – “Ms. Vangie, where do the weeds come from?”
At Farm Day when seeing a goat – “What kinda dog is that Ms. Vangie?”
When inspecting a fresh chicken egg – “You mean they come from inside a chicken?”
As we reviewed farm animals – “Are chickens just ducks with fancy hair or are they different all together?”
And my favorite – “So what do worms do anyway?”
More than just “curious by nature,” these children are seeking understanding so as to make something a value of their very own. Their questions belie a need to desire to more fully comprehend and experience the world around them. But the platform for these conversations doesn’t naturally exist – it must be intentionally created.
I want to explain the life cycle of seeds and plants as a part of God’s continual renewal of this good Earth. I yearn to have the time to really look at dogs, goats, ducks and chickens and talk about the wonderful differences of creation. And I want to show them what worms do, what healthy soil is and tell them about our role as partners in creation.
My friends reminded me that I want to build a place for our kids to play in nature, learn about their role in creation care and discover what it means to “live justly.” I want the sparrows to have a nest. It is my dream that at The Sparrow’s Nest children will…
- Have a safe place to learn and grow.
- Learn to care for creation through sustainable agricultural and consumer practices.
- Learn the value of small things, such as small acts of love, kindness, and justice.
- Experience being part of a membership with one another and with creation.
- Develop and practice tools for peacemaking and reconciliation.
Gathering a group of kids together a few times a week won’t reverse climate change, but it might help shape a worldview toward peaceful living alongside creation. I suppose my Netflix binge can wait after all.