- take ownership of their mistakes and forgive others for their mistakes.
- never give up—no matter how scared they are.
- put their faith into action by spending time with—and acting more like—Jesus.
Kids everywhere will love Bob and Lindsey’s stories about how love does. With childlike faith, enthusiasm, and great whimsy, young hearts will feel instantly connected to a love that acts as much as it feels. Children will walk away with a sense of wonder at how great God is and will feel empowered to do things that will make a tangible difference in the world.
As a little boy with a big personality and even bigger dreams, Bob Goff had lots of questions, and they didn't go away when he grew up. It wasn’t until he learned just how big and wild and wonderful God is that he began to find answers. Once Bob learned about the deep goodness of God, he began to learn about the great power God gives His kids when they live a life full of love for others.
Bob and Lindsey invite kids to get to know God better and to see the world as a place designed to be changed as we put our faith in action.
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|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||6 - 10 Years|
About the Author
Bob Goff is the founder of Love Does, a nonprofit organization that operates schools and pursues justice for children in conflict areas such as Uganda, Somalia, and Iraq. Bob is a lawyer and serves as the honorary consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. He is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Law School and Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in San Diego with Sweet Maria, their kids, and extended family.
Lindsey Goff Viducich loves kids. She began her teaching career at a therapeutic childcare center in Seattle and went on to teach kindergarten in Nashville, first grade in Salem, Oregon, and both first and second grades in San Diego. Lindsey lives with her husband Jon and their spends most of her free time creating art and living new stories with her family.
Read an Excerpt
When I was in kindergarten, we had nap time every afternoon. I know, it sounds so boring, right? I thought so too. The only thing I liked about nap time was a special job I hoped to get. Every day, the teacher would pick someone to be the "Wake-Up Fairy." The Wake-Up Fairy got to put on wings, tap people on their shoulders with a magic wand, and announce that it was time to wake up. I thought it was the coolest job in the world, and I couldn't wait for my turn.
One day, my moment finally came — my teacher picked me to be the Wake-Up Fairy! It's finally my chance! I'll be the best Wake-Up Fairy the world has ever seen, I thought to myself.
I put on the fairy wings, grabbed the wand, and headed around the room to do my job, but I was so excited that I forgot to walk carefully. As I ran through the classroom, tapping my friends on their shoulders, I stepped on somebody's nose. My teacher wasn't happy. In fact, I'd had so much trouble listening and following directions that she took away my wand and wings.
To tell you the truth, it felt pretty awful. I didn't mean to hurt anyone; I was just so excited to do my job that I forgot to look where I was going.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever tried your hardest to do the right thing but messed up anyway? We've all messed up now and then, and it can feel pretty awful.
What I learned later in life from Jesus is that when we mess up, we don't have to keep feeling awful. When Jesus picked out His friends and asked them to spend time with Him, He didn't go to the people who were the smartest in school or the most popular. He didn't even look for the people with fancy jobs or nice houses or those who made a lot of money. He definitely didn't look for people who always listened to their teachers or the ones who hadn't made mistakes before.
The Bible says Jesus saw a few fishermen near the edge of a lake and chose them to be His closest friends. I bet those fishermen had so much trouble in school that they didn't even go anymore! They probably didn't even have their nets on the right side of the boat most of the time, but Jesus picked them anyway.
Jesus asked a tax collector to follow Him too. Nobody liked tax collectors because they stole other people's lunch money and called it their own. In fact, Jesus spent so much time with people who had made big mistakes that people started saying not-so-nice things about Jesus behind His back. But Jesus didn't care what it would look like if He loved people who had made mistakes. He wanted everybody who had ever messed up to know that He liked them all the same. He even used their mistakes to prove how much He really loved them.
It's sometimes easy to think that when we make a mistake we are somehow a little less worthy of being loved, or that when people think about us they'll only think about the mistake we made. What I didn't realize when I made my big mistake in kindergarten is that God's love for us doesn't change on our worst days. Come to think of it, we can't earn more of God's love on our best days. We are simply loved by God, no matter what, and because of Jesus, God doesn't define us by our mistakes.
That day as the Wake-Up Fairy wasn't my only bad day at school. School was always hard for me, and at times I wanted to quit. But you know what? I didn't. I believed that Jesus loved me even when I struggled because the stories I read about Jesus showed He didn't see people for their mistakes. He saw them for who they were becoming, even when they couldn't see it for themselves.
What I didn't know as a failed Wake-Up Fairy was that someday, if I kept at it, I would go to school to become a lawyer. I would get the chance to help kids around the world by starting new schools that they could go to. And the one rule we have for students at our schools is this: we always try our best, but when we make mistakes, we remember how much Jesus loves us — no matter what!
Jesus knew that mistakes don't keep people from doing important things. Remember those fishermen He met by the lake? They would end up traveling all over, telling people about Jesus. And the tax collector? He eventually started a church. Can you believe that? All of this happened because Jesus told each of His friends who they were becoming, and they believed Him. So the next time you make a mistake, just think to yourself: I am loved, and I am God's ... and I wonder who God is turning me into.
Here's the answer:
You are becoming a helper.
You are becoming a leader.
You are becoming love.CHAPTER 2
I spent a lot of time at my Grandma Mary's house when I was growing up. I loved her because she really liked me and because she was always coming up with capers and mischief. Whenever I would visit, she'd have a project or two waiting for me. One day, we'd build a solar oven together by setting a cardboard box lined with tin foil out in the sun and make grilled cheese sandwiches. The next day, we'd make rock candy out of sugar and water and watch it grow on a string.
Grandma Mary never learned how to drive a car, so she rode a tricycle everywhere she went — even as a grown-up! Most weeks, I'd ride my bike to her house, and Grandma Mary would hop on her tricycle so we could ride to the hardware store together to buy supplies for the next project. I was a really active kid, and Grandma Mary delighted in running around after her red-headed, freckle-faced tornado of a grandson. (I think it was because she had more than a little tornado in her too.) One of my favorite activities was to gather every single pillow in her house and make a huge pillow pile in the living room. Grandma Mary and I would stand on the couch and jump into the pile together, rolling in the pillows and laughing so hard that tears ran down our cheeks.
Grandma Mary loved me so much that she even gave me my very own room in her house. It wasn't fancy. It had only a bed and a desk with an antique sewing machine on it. In one of the desk drawers, Grandma Mary would leave me nickels and dimes. She called it "room rent."
"It's only right to pay you rent if I'm going to use your room for sewing while you're at school!" she said.
The funny thing is, I can't remember Grandma Mary ever sewing a thing! Even so, every time I went to her house, I'd race upstairs to check my room-rent drawer. I'd always find a handful of change, and then we'd set off on our bicycle and tricycle and head to the store to get a candy bar or the materials for our next project.
It's easy to think that loving people the way Jesus did means we have to do really big things for them — the kinds of things the whole world will see or people will write about in newspapers, talk about in the news, or make into a movie. Doing big things to love people is fantastic, but what I learned from Grandma Mary is that big love doesn't need to attract big attention. We need to give love away like we're made of it, and sometimes that comes out in the smallest, simplest acts of kindness.
It didn't make much sense for Grandma Mary to pay me rent for a room that was already hers. Why would you pay rent to a little kid when you own the whole house? Why would you give so much time to make one person feel so special? Even though they may not have looked big to most people, Grandma Mary's simple acts of love shaped the person I grew up to be. I knew that I wanted to show the same kindness to my own kids one day and that I wanted to be the type of person who helps other people too. Because Grandma Mary gave me so much love, I learned how to give more love away!
Lots of things in Jesus' kingdom seem to be the opposite of what you'd expect. Jesus said that the people who weren't well-known would be leaders. He said that the people who were overlooked would actually be most noticed by Him. And in Jesus' kingdom, our small acts of love can help other people in really big ways. When we give our love away, we're not paying Jesus back for what He's done for us. It's actually just the opposite. It's like He's left room rent in our dresser drawer, and He can't wait to see how we'll use what He has given us to love others.CHAPTER 3
WORDS OF LIFE
When I was in elementary school, I played on a Little League baseball team. I wasn't very good at sports, but that didn't stop me from playing.
My teammates figured out early on that if I stood next to the plate and waited to get hit with the ball that was pitched, I would get an automatic walk to first base — and my team would probably get more points. One day, toward the end of the game, I had a choice to make: Should I take a ball to the shoulder like I always do, or should I try to actually swing the bat and make a hit? At the last moment, I closed my eyes, swung, and miraculously heard a dull whap as my bat connected with the ball. It was a home run! I raced around the plates, sliding victoriously into home plate. Our team won the game!
A week or so later, my mom came into my room and told me I had some mail. Mail? For me? I opened the big envelope and found a card inside. I think it was the first card I'd ever received in the mail, and it was shaped like an apple. Are all cards shaped like apples? I wondered. When I opened the card, I saw the words "You are the apple of my eye" printed inside. Underneath that was a handwritten note: "Wow, what a hit, Bob! You're a real ballplayer. Love, Coach."
I read the words again, over and over. Me? A real ballplayer? Part of me couldn't believe it, but the words sank in because of who they were from. I trusted my coach, and if he thought I was a real ballplayer, then maybe I was.
This was my first experience with just how powerful words can be.
After I grew up, I had a daughter named Lindsey, and she was scared of getting in trouble at school. If students forgot their homework or forgot to get a paper signed, the teacher would send home a note to their parents, and the thought of having a note sent home grew into a huge fear in Lindsey's mind. Sweet Maria and I had to sit down with Lindsey to talk about it. "Honey," we said in all seriousness, "we need you to go get a note from your teacher."
What Lindsey didn't realize is that making mistakes is okay sometimes. The day Lindsey finally got a note, she climbed into the car after school in tears. "I got a note from my teacher," she cried. "I forgot to get my test signed!"
Do you know what Sweet Maria and I did? We cheered!
Instead of signing the note from the teacher like I was supposed to do, I wrote over the small, wrinkled paper in huge letters, "LINDSEY IS A GREAT KID!"
You see, this is what God's grace is like. Grace is Jesus writing "YOU ARE A GREAT KID" over the mistakes in your life. Because I'm Lindsey's dad, she trusted me when I said she was a great kid, the same way I trusted my coach when he said I was a real ballplayer. We can trust Jesus the same way.
Did you know that one of Jesus' disciples made a really big — HUGE — mistake one time? His name was Peter, and right before Jesus was crucified, Peter got scared and started telling people he didn't even know Jesus. He had promised to be friends with Jesus, but at Jesus' hardest moment, Peter wasn't that great of a friend at all.
Do you know what Jesus did later? He forgave Peter and told him, "Peter, you're a rock. When people look at you, they're going to think of Me. And I'm going to use you to start My whole church."
You're a real ballplayer. You're a great kid. You're a rock.
These are all such different words, and on their own they might not have much meaning. But when spoken with love at just the right moment, these words have the power to change everything — even to change your life. That's why it matters how we choose to use our words. We have the ability to be each other's mirrors, to reflect back to each other who we're becoming.
The words we say to one another have tremendous power, so let's make them words of life.CHAPTER 4
When I was little, I thought the candy store owner was the luckiest man in the whole world. He could have candy any time he wanted! I visited him regularly, bringing with me the coins I had collected from my room rent. Back then, most pieces of candy cost just a cent or two, so every time I had a few coins I would wander down to his store, walk around, and marvel at the jars of colorful candy lining the walls. I didn't want some of it; I wanted all of it!
After I had made my selection, I would place the candy on the counter by the cash register and put all the change I had next to it. Learning how to count money had been hard for me, but the shopkeeper was a kind, grandfatherly man who would lean over the counter and slowly help me count the coins, pausing to remind me what each one was worth. Most days, he would smile and nod after he got to the correct amount, scoop up the change that was his, and hand the rest back to me.
I usually didn't even make it out the door with my candy, and instead would sit in the shop while I ate it. I would watch the shopkeeper interact with other customers in the same gentle, kind way, pausing in his friendly conversations to count change, keep what was his, and return the rest.
One day, when I brought my candy and change to the counter, the candy store owner didn't smile after counting my change. Instead, he sighed and said, "I think we're one penny short."
I liked that he said we because it made me feel like I wasn't alone with my problem. After a moment, he said, "I have an idea."
The shopkeeper reached behind him and grabbed a bottle of vinegar, some salt, and a cleaning rag. He picked up one of my old pennies, poured a little vinegar on it, added a pinch of salt, and rubbed it with the cleaning rag. I leaned in as if I were watching a magic trick. Slowly, my penny turned from dull brown to a brilliant, shiny copper color.
The storekeeper looked up. "In my store," he said with a grin and a twinkle in his eye, "shiny pennies are worth double."
Now, I knew that shiny pennies weren't actually worth double, but I believed the shopkeeper that day because of who he was. Words spoken from kind people have the power to change everything. He liked me, and he owned the store, and he made up that rule just for me.
In many ways, we're like my old penny that I offered to the storekeeper. We aren't enough on our own, but God still decides to see us as incredibly valuable to Him. This is called grace. God's grace is a lot like the candy store owner with a cleaning rag, making us brand new.
The beautiful thing about grace is that we get to show it to others too. We can decide that people are worth a whole lot to us because they are also worth so much to God. We get to forgive people even when they hurt our feelings or take something away from us, and in this way we can show them what God is like.
We get to decide that shiny pennies are worth double.CHAPTER 5
I'M WITH YOU
People can get lost in lots of different ways. Sometimes they get confused about where they are, like getting lost in the grocery store. Other times they can feel lost because they're unsure about who they are. Some people even get amnesia and forget everything about themselves. They don't even remember their names! Can you imagine what that would be like? I've never forgotten my name before, but a couple times I've forgotten who God made me to be.
I already told you that I was never very good at school. Eventually, in high school, I decided that the best thing for me to do was to give up on school altogether. I decided I'd do what I had always wanted: move to the mountains in Yosemite (a big, beautiful national park) and become a forest ranger! I would climb mountains, live in a tent, and eat hot dogs and Pop-Tarts. I was sure it would be awesome. Looking back now, I can see that I was a little lost. I knew exactly where I was, but I didn't know who I was.
Before I left for the mountains, I went to see my friend Randy. Randy was a Young Life leader at my high school. He was a grown-up who liked to hang out with high school kids and tell them about Jesus. I wasn't sure about Jesus yet, but I really liked Randy, so I drove to his house to say good-bye.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Love Does for Kids"
Copyright © 2018 Bob Goff and Lindsey Goff Viducich.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Mistakes, 4,
2. Room Rent, 10,
3. Words of Life, 14,
4. Shiny Pennies, 18,
5. I'm with You, 22,
6. Sailing with Young Life, 26,
7. Wedding Cake, 32,
8. Pictures in a Wallet, 36,
9. Unicycle, 42,
10. See a Little More, 46,
11. Zoo, 52,
12. Gifts, 58,
13. The Letters, 62,
14. No-Manners Night, 68,
15. Bears, 74,
16. Keys, 80,
17. Making Friends, 84,
18. Everybody's In, 90,
19. The Good Doctor, 96,
20. The Town, 100,
21. Pack Light, 104,
22. The Jeep, 108,
23. Star Night, 112,
24. Restore Kids, 118,
25. Freeing Slaves, 122,
26. Finding Rock, 128,
27. Living Water, 132,
28. Bible Doing, 136,
29. Humble Voices Carry Far, 140,
30. Play Ball, 144,
31. Disneyland, 148,
32. Go Pick a Fight, 152,
33. Ice Cream Drop, 156,
34. Popcorn Bags, 160,
35. Invited vs. Welcome, 164,
36. Grace and Toilet Paper, 168,
37. Tippy Toes, 172,
38. Quitter, 176,
39. Three Minutes at a Time, 180,
40. The Puppeteer, 184,
41. For Each Other, 190,
42. Secretly Incredible, 194,
43. A New Heart, 198,
44. Croc Drop, 202,
45. Brave, 206,
46. Waving to Jesus, 212,
About the Authors, 215,