A few months ago my oldest daughter, Michaela, expressed her desire to participate in the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser. This is an event where the participants raise money for childhood cancer research then have their hair completely shaved off. My youngest daughter, Cora, and I looked at each other with looks that were mixed with shock, reservation, and uncertainty. The thoughts and feelings that flooded over me in that moment are embarrassing. It is amazing who and what God uses to reveal the nasty parts of our human nature. My first thoughts were “Oh that hair is so beautiful, she has prom, senior pictures, etc…” Pure selfish prideful thoughts were my initial response. How nasty and foolish of me. During her elementary school days it was mom that encouraged her to donate her hair to “Locks of Love” a couple times. The last time was in fifth grade. Going to a “Bob” haircut for fast growing hair was apparently reasonable for my prideful heart. We later learned that those wigs were charged for and not donated to children with cancer with that organization so I stopped encouraging the drastic haircuts. In the mean time her thick beautiful locks have grown and grown.
As parents we often don’t realize the impact our conversations and prayers have on our children. Our lives have been heavily impacted by children with cancer in the area we live. A year and about four months ago my life long friend since the fourth grade’s son, Collin, was diagnosed with bone cancer. He and his family have been in the brutal battle with cancer since the day he was diagnosed. They have had blow after blow yet continue on taking one day at a time. They have to continue living life one treatment, test, and surgery at a time. There is another family with a three year old daughter, Lexi, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer this last year. I watched Lexi’s mother grow up from the church youth group into a wonderful wife and mother. Lexi has now completed her treatments and we pray the cancer stays away. There are many other families impacted by childhood cancer just within our small area. So as I have talked about and prayed for Collin and Lexi specifically Michaela was listening.
She felt a passion to do this in honor of Collin and Lexi. Her selfless reason to give her hair made my initial thoughts and emotions that much more embarrassing. The next thoughts were “It is just hair, she is beautiful with or without hair, SHE DOES NOT HAVE CANCER ANITA!!!” Dear God please forgive my pride and vanity!! God there are so many families impacted by childhood cancer and here I am so very very selfish!!! She is alive and healthy! Her hair will grow! Her body is not poisoned by healthy cell devouring cancer. Her body is not poisoned by the treatments to fight that atrocious disease. This painfully shy child at age sixteen is willing to have her head shaved in front of her classmates. This painfully shy child is willing to walk around with no hair for months as it grows back. This child who has no job is giving what she can, her hair, to help someone else.
This humbled momma continues to learn so much and most often through my own children.
The high school she attends does this fundraiser annually. This year there were 33 students that participated and they raised over $20,000 toward childhood cancer research. We can learn so much from the ones that are tomorrows future!!
Our children are listening even when we are so far from perfect ourselves we should watch what we do and say. We are shaping the future of tomorrow. Sometimes they shape us, in spite of ourselves.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3