by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Zach Bonner was seven years old when he became a philanthropist! This fall, at eighteen, he will start college with hopes of earning a law degree. In between he has done more to relieve undeserved suffering among the world’s children than possibly any other single human being. Of course, he didn’t do it alone. I call this kid who makes a mighty difference a compassion catalyst. He’s one who has motivated and mobilized thousands of others to make a difference right where they were and set their sights far beyond.
You may know Zach as the CEO of the Little Red Wagon Foundation which he began in 2005. You may have seen the docudrama, Little Red Wagon, a movie released in theaters in 2012. Or, you may have heard of Zach’s fame as one who walked coast to coast – Atlantic to Pacific – distributing more than 6,000 backpacks of food and supplies to the homeless. It is easy to find information about Zach online, including many photographs of ways he has made a difference.
At fifteen, Zach was quoted, “I believe God has a purpose for everyone, and this is the purpose for my life.” Here’s another, “No matter how big or how small your project is, everything you do can affect the world and change it.” I’m sure you agree that Zach is truly an amazing young man.
When I pulled up the photos from a segment of his cross-country walk, I was struck with something else that did not even merit being singled out as noteworthy.
Zach’s mother walked every single one of those miles alongside her son! I call that a stellar example of one who makes a difference.
She is a single parent (her husband died in a motorcycle crash) with two kids younger than Zach. I don’t know her personally, but I’m guessing she is a woman of faith who drew upon God’s wisdom to provide the nurturing environment that produced her compassion prodigy. It couldn’t have been easy, but she must have realized, that his first five years were critical, setting the direction of his life. I wonder if her middle name is ‘Hannah.’ She reminds me of that Old Testament mother who consciously and unreservedly dedicated her child to glorify God.
So this weekend, I invite you to join me in saluting the mother in your life.
However well or poorly our mothers provided for our full-orbed needs as children, they were still the carriers of life in its closest proximity – right under the heart. Today, our mothers are often the ones who believe in us, even when we find it hard to believe in ourselves, or believe in the Heavenly Parent who gave us life.
Apart from the warm fuzzies of greeting cards, the flowers and candy we think of when we want to honor our moms, we can offer them our heartfelt gratitude, a hug and a loving word, the gift of time to listen carefully and, yes, prayer for their wellbeing.
And let’s not forget to pray for our daughters, too, the mothers of our future, destined by God to give birth to generations to come.
“…a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her (children) bring her praise….” from Proverbs 31:30-31