Although she may not remember, I first met Beth Templeton during my tenure as Family Literacy Specialist for families of young children in Greenville, South Carolina many years ago. At that time, she worked with United Ministries , a non-profit that provides “life changing opportunities and advocacy for people in our community who lack education or employment skills, who are in financial crisis, or who are homeless”. Beth, and many others who were dedicated to serving people in the community reminded so many of us about the importance of compassion and justice. Many of the families I worked with benefited from the work of United Ministries…so did I.
It was an Episcopal priest who helped a van load of young, bright-eyed educators shed our middle class attitudes, and begin to hear the stories of those who our society would categorize as the “have-nots”. We took a tour of our community that is not on the visitor’s bureau site, but opened our eyes to the world where the families we taught spent their lives, and where we would be spending much of our time for the next three years.
I discovered early in my adulthood, that we all have a Beth or two in our communities, and they are our best resources for helping children live into the command to love our neighbors. Beth’s book, A Coat Named Mr. Spot is a great storybook for parents, guardians, ministers, and grandparents to read with children to help them grow in empathy for classmates who may live in poverty.
A QUESTION TO PONDER
What resources am I using to help children grow in compassion and justice?
Other Books for Consideration:
The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor
Our Big Home by Linda Glaser
Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne Disalvo Ryan
A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Fine & Rene Moreno