I want to be honest with you. Prior to moving to Nashville, I never really owned any sort of “skinny jean.” I never owned any pairs of pants that seemed like you were trying to deliberately suffocate your legs in denim.
A few months ago though, I found myself buying a pair of “skinnier jeans.” Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s different than skinny jeans. They’re kind of in between normal jeans and skinny jeans. They are like the pants equivalent of the vegetarian friend you have who still eats fish occasionally. (Fish always lose out when it comes to casual vegetarians.) These jeans are straddling the middle. Not quite skinny, not quite relaxed fit.
And in many ways, I blame Nashville for this pants development. They practically greet you at the city limits with skinny jeans, Jack White accouterments and a tool to have two discernible eyebrows instead of one. This town will change you.
But I’m loving it here. It’s like a smaller, more musical version of Atlanta. Less traffic, more songwriters, an abundance of the color of UT orange. Nashville is a great city. One other thing I’ve noticed is one of the cool things they do with the homeless population.
They have a street newspaper called “The Contributor.” To combat homelessness and give people a step toward advancement, they have people who have fallen on hard times sell the paper for a dollar. A lot of the articles are written by the homeless community here and in addition to creating jobs, it helps create a voice for an often voiceless group of people.
Two weeks ago, when we were driving home from church, I saw someone selling the Contributor on a corner at a red light. You have to be lightning fast to flag the person down, get out your money, and make the newspaper exchange before the light turns green. I was hanging out with my two daughters alone and thought, “ahhh, a teachable moment.”
I rolled my driver’s side window down, the side of the car my 5-year-old McRae sits on in the backseat and told the guy:
“I’ll take two please, one for each daughter.”
Now clearly, they weren’t going to read it. They weren’t going to dig into the “Hoboscope,” what the Contributor calls their horoscope section. McRae can’t read yet and L.E. sees the newspaper as a dinosaur of a medium and refuses to sully her hands with newsprint when she could read updates on the iPad. But again, teachable moment.
As the gentleman with the papers leaned in, McRae looked up from coloring a Tinkerbell picture in her car seat in the back, made eye contact with the guy, raised her hand and said, “No thanks.”
She then went back to coloring, leaving me and my two dollars and the guy with the papers in a bit of shock.
I wanted to yell out, “She doesn’t hate the homeless!” But the light turned green, and so instead, I gave him my money, took the papers and sped away.
So if you ever pray for the Acuff family, you can add that to your list. My 5-year-old apparently hates social justice.
Have you ever had a moment like that, when you tried to teach your kids a lesson and it backfired?
Or have you had the opposite experience, when you got your kids involved in a mission or a community activity and it really changed they way they look at serving?
Did your own parents ever try anything like that with you?