“Hurricane Helpers,” Friend, Mar. 2014, 46–47
Scott ran home from the bus stop. It was Friday! He could have friends over, play games, and—best of all—spend time with Dad.
Dad had been working long hours lately. He left before Scott woke up and didn’t come home until after bedtime. But Dad always saved the weekends for family and church.
“Mom!” Scott called as he came through the door. “Can I invite Cayden to come over and play?” Mom had just put down the phone, and Scott stopped when he saw the serious expression on her face.
“First I need to talk to you,” Mom said. “There’s been another hurricane, this time in Louisiana, and Dad’s been asked to help with cleanup again.”
“Can I go with him?” Scott asked. Dad always came back from cleanup trips with interesting stories about serving and working. He had promised that when Scott got old enough he could come along.
Mom closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m glad you want to help,” she said. “But you still aren’t quite old enough, and your dad might not be able to go after all.”
What would keep Dad from going? Scott wondered. More work? Was he sick?
“Actually, whether or not Dad can go depends a lot on you,” Mom said. Scott’s eyebrows shot up.
“Why would it depend on me?” he asked.
“Remember how my foot has been hurting the past few days?” Mom asked. Scott nodded. He and his sisters had helped her with the ice packs and pillows she needed to help her foot feel better.
“Well, today I found out that it’s probably broken. I need to stay completely off of it while it heals.”
She paused for a minute, but Scott was already ahead of her. “So you need me and the others to help while Dad is gone? Like making meals and cleaning the house?”
“Will I be in charge?”
Mom smiled. “I’ll be in charge. But you’d be the head helper.” Her face looked serious again. “If it’s too much, Dad can stay home. I told him I thought you could handle it, but we wanted to ask you first. It would be your way of doing hurricane help, because if you help here, you’ll make it so he can help there.”
Now it was Scott’s turn to be serious. “Mom,” he said. “I can totally do this. You can count on me!”
Mom smiled and gave Scott a big hug.
On Saturday morning, Dad was already gone when Scott woke up. Mom called out advice as Scott made pancakes for his four younger siblings. Scott even made a car-shaped pancake for Michael. Later, for lunch, Scott made sandwiches.
“Do you want jelly or honey on your sandwich?” Scott asked Allison. She wanted jelly.
At dinner Scott asked Abigail to get the peas to go with the macaroni and cheese. “We have to be healthy and eat our vegetables,” he told her.
After each meal, everyone helped clear the table and wash the dishes. Scott swept the floor and made sure everyone played quietly so Mom could rest. That night he got everyone together for family prayers.
When Dad came home the next day, Scott and his siblings had a surprise for him. They had their own stories to share about working to help others.