A Valuable Lesson

By on November 11, 2011

By Barbara Franzen –

Though wanting a large family, God blessed me with one precious child. One child meant one chance to teach those values we cherish. As a young mother, happily going about the task of instilling these, I placed giving and compassion right up there at the top. Granted, I believed the giver was apt to be loved in return; teaching my boy to give meant he’d be accepted by others.

Matt was in junior high when I came up with a plan at Christmas time. I’d seen a dilapidated building downtown Lincoln, NE. One for adventure and bringing joy to faces of the needy, I chose this place known as The City Mission (today a new structure).  Matt would become acquainted with true poverty in hopes of  strengthening his compassion.

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

I bought the gifts. Money wasn’t plentiful so I probably purchased them form the K-mart sale racks up the street. That was fine. Our endeavor was about giving-not about money. My gifts-man, woman, boy, girl -were placed in a straw basket and we were off. The day was cold and blustery, winds blowing. Surely, he would surely complain and gripe…if for no other reason, being seen with “mother”, but no I was pleasantly surprised by my student and his willingness to participate in this valuable lesson. Climbing the steps, we rang a buzzer. A homeless gatekeeper answered. Upon seeing us, a big smile and a thank you were all that were needed for our return trip the following year.

Was I a successful teacher? It was God’s lesson not mine but yes, after college I began to see the results. Today I am amazed. My son is a humble giver for numerous causes. A college coach, he took the lesson to heart. However, along the way the teacher and giver in me stopped giving.

An illness, multiple sclerosis, dimmed the light within…But something good happened. After watching Matt and his lovely wife, Lacey, my spirit has been restored. I am ready to be that mother (turned grandmother) who eagerly worked to instill those traits so long ago. Funny, but true, how our children reflect back, and in some cases, restore our spirit. Thank you Lord.


Barb Franzen is a prairie girl by heart- Over fifty she worked as a licensed child and adult therapist and ran her own private practice. Educated at the University of Nebraska and Seward Concordia with a Masters from Kearney State she was also a featured mental health speaker…earlier in life a United Stewardess. Married she is a first time grandmother who is pursuing a second career as a creative writer. You can find her at her blog at: http://gabbi-innerjoy.blogspot.com/

About Barb Franzen

Barb Franzen lives a prairie life in the Platte Valley of NB. A nature lover she is passionate about writing. Other interests include genealogy, mental health, reading and quilting-Her favorite thing is painting pictures with words and discovering out of the way haunts-A woman who lives outside of the box- You can find her at her blog at: http://gabbi-innerjoy.blogspot.com/.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

A Valuable Lesson