Saturday, April 14, 2007

"You Are Doing Such a Good Thing"

"You are doing such a good thing."
"It is wonderful. We all are so proud of you."
"You’re a good man, Charlie Brown."

All of these things and more have been said to me. Each time I smile, nod, and say an honest, "Thank you."

But I wince inside.

I don't wince because the people are not genuine; just the opposite is true. And not because I am too humble to receive the praise; sadly I am not. For a long time I was not even sure why I was troubled. It has been something that I have been thinking about for months now.

Other "good deeds" that I carry out elicit no such response from people. Nobody comments on the common or the expected nice things that I do. When I loan out my truck, the recipient thanks me. No one else thanks me, because loaning out a truck is a common good deed for truck owners. When I take my son Buddy to the emergency room there is no fanfare because although the deed is uncommon (well, sort of), it is expected.

But adopting orphans from Ethiopia. Now there is an event that is neither common nor expected. And so it is noteworthy. "You are doing such a good thing," they say.

Now I understand why the comment makes me wince. When someone speaks those words it testifies to the fact that what I am doing is uncommon and unexpected.

But the need is so great. The children are so beautiful. Life is so precious. They are "made in the image of God." Why should caring for orphans be uncommon and unexpected?

I dream of a world where all children are cherished. A world where we spend more time and energy securing the future of the world's children than securing the future of the world's oil reserves. A world where caring for orphans is common and expected.

I dream of a world where it would not occur to anyone to say, "Your doing such a good thing" to an orphan-adopting dad.


Brian (dad to 3) said...

I wince on the outside.

I think the biggest problem with it is that people are allowing themselves an out. They're really saying "You're doing such a good great that I couldn't do it." So instead of saying, "Thank you," I've started saying "You know, you could adopt too."

If 10% of families adopted and the other 90% of families supported that 10%, imagine what the world would be like.

CrazyD said...

Nice response. When people say, "That is such a good thing, I could never do it" to my friend, he lets them know that they could, but they are just choosing not to.

My adoption is still recent and I am still processing all of this. Soon I may be at the point where I will turn a compliment given to me into a challenge for giver.

By the way, I saw your blog. Thanks for the kind words.

mick91 said...

we are awaiting Paperwork from Embassy to adopt our newest Kids. That will make 8 {6 Bio - 2 New guys]
I was unsure what verbage to respond to people with and appreciate the help you have Just Given me.

Thank you Mike

Innocent Observer said...

I agree that such comments are a way to make the commenter feel better about their own lack of action, but adoption IS huge. I don't feel that we could persue international adoption due to financial constraints.

The comment that I get a lot is that I must be a saint. It bothers me because I am far from perfect, I'm just a Mom. Sometimes when people lavish me with such praise I begin to feel that I am not up to the challenge. But the reality is that it doesn't take a saint.

CrazyD said...

I agree that adoption (international or domestic) is huge. It is not for everyone. The art of responding to people may be laying out for them an appropriate challenge. For some this may be adoption, for others supporting an orphan, for others lending a helping hand.

Thanks for the thought provoking comments.

CrazyD said...

Oh, yeah. You mentioned that people think you are a saint. In case you have not seen it, check out the following post from about being called a saint:

Sinners or Saints