Phil Olckers shares a recent roadside experience that deeply impacted him.
The other day while driving home from work I noticed a lady on the side of the road selling fly nets and collecting rubbish. She had a little boy with her who was entertaining himself by playing with a soft rugby ball. I couldn’t just drive on. I felt I had to at least buy them some food.
So I stopped and bought them some food, including a treat or two for the little boy. I then spent a half an hour just playing a bit of “rugby” with the boy on the side of the road on a little grass patch. I asked his mom where his dad was and she said that he had passed away a while ago.
I asked her if her son went to school, and she told me that he was going the following year as he was still too young. When I left, my heart just broke knowing that this kid had to grow up without a father, and realising how much this could have an effect on the man he becomes one day.
The little boy quickly picked up on my way of playing and what I found funny, and he immediately started doing things to try get me to laugh. Whenever I tried to leave he would do a funny laugh or fall over as a way of trying to make me stay. It made saying goodbye really hard.
I could see how much energy he was putting into trying to impress me and I wondered what would happen if he started to try to impress the wrong people by doing the wrong things.
What children in this world need are real genuine men who can lead and encourage them. I know that I don’t have everything sorted out , but I do know that I have God in my life who is the ultimate leader, and He changes my heart and helps me become more of a man everyday. While playing with this little boy I realised that I want to be an example of God’s father-heart to children who don’t have a good father-figure in their lives.
From this experience, I realised that I wanted to get involved somewhere where I could go at least once a week and really get a chance to build into these kids lives by listening to their stories, encouraging them, and talking through life’s issues with them as they grow up. And, hopefully, when they’re old enough they can be leaders to the next generation.
-Phil is a member of the Common Ground Church South AM congregation. He’s currently researching ways of offering his time to mentor children from difficult backgrounds.
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(Photography by Jon Mannion, via Flickr.com)