Ms. Annie Pearl and her family ran a neighborhood store in the late sixties and early seventies. It was only two blocks from my house and they sold just about everything you could want or need. We only went there for one thing…junk food! You could buy pickles, pickled pigs feet or even pickled eggs; you could buy one cookie if you wanted to.
Ms. Annie Pearl knew how to run a store catered to and bent toward kids; all of her candy was behind the counter! You could not get that package of chocolate Now & Laters until you put your nickel on the counter. Kids would come from all over the neighborhood to buy junk food from her because she had the best selection of candy and other stuff that dentists love for kids to eat.
But when you shopped at Ms. Annie Pearl’s you got a lot more than just candy because not only was she an entrepreneur, she was also a youth worker! I’m sure she wouldn’t describe herself as a youth minister, but she was! She would learn your name, where you lived, how many siblings you had, who your parents were, and if you came in looking sad she would ask if anything was wrong.
She was a professional observer. She not only observed if you “forgot” to pay for something, she observed everything and everybody. Today we live in a world where most people are too caught up in their own world to observe hurting and confused kids. Thank God for the professional counselors who help hundreds of children and teenagers, but you don’t have to be one of those to notice a kid that crosses your path. You could be a Ms. Annie Pearl just doing your thing and noticing kids at the same time.
HAMSIGHTS: There are kids in your world that need you to notice them.