“Would you like to use the vacuum to clean up your crumbs?”

I asked a preschooler, “Would you like to use the vacuum to clean up your crumbs?” He looked at the crumbs and said, “Those are really not MY crumbs. They are from the cracker, and you gave me the cracker. Would YOU like to use the vacuum cleaner to clean up your crumbs?”


Some children are great at getting out of work. Some children fight over who gets to use the vacuum cleaner.  Children, like adults, are all over the vacuum cleaner spectrum.

Earlier in the week I had been asked to take a picture of something that I thought was beautiful as part of a women’s ministry retreat. The people in my group all left their conference room and headed to the hallway. Three of the women asked a custodian if he knew how to get outside. He politely stopped his work to answer each one. I looked at that man who was doing a great job keeping so much clean for the conference attendees, and I decided to take his picture. I stopped him and thanked him for his good work. He said it was nice to be noticed. We exchanged some other nice words and I thought that was the end of my vacuum story, but sometimes there is more than our eye knows.

I had the pleasure of meeting a three year old the next day who was just adorable. (He’s three, of course he is adorable!) He is being adopted into a family this month, and his new parents truly love him and respect his uniqueness. As I saw him in the hotel lobby, I got to see him and his four year old brother climb on the furniture, jump on the table and run to attempt climbing on the escalator. Luckily his new dad is quite quick and can catch him. I tried engaging him with a little toy or a book and  a song and nothing was really catching his fancy.

His mother shared that what he really likes are vacuum cleaners. I could not believe that I actually had a vacuum cleaner picture on my phone from the day before. I got out the picture and instantly we were bonded and talking his language. I saw a spark turn on, and I had to text him the picture to his mother’s phone to make leaving easier.

I never knew when I stopped that man with the vacuum cleaner in the hallway the day before that it would make such a difference to a little boy. Much of life is like that. We do not know the full impacts into the future. We live our days and don’t always see how they connect with the others. This precious boy reminded me that we really do not live in a vacuum. We are connected in much deeper ways across a long spectrum.

  • What do you like or dislike about vacuuming?
  • Do you have an opinion which makes the strongest waves, positive or negative ripples?
  • Will you take the chance to go out of your way to engage with someone positively today and be patient enough to see if you see any effect?

“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life: every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.”

Khaled Hosseini

“Teenagers who are never required to vacuum are living in one.”
Fred G. Gosman

P.S. If you are an adoptive parent or a biological parent, it is officially impossible to live in a vacuum. Thank you for all you do to make a difference because if it is not you, than who, and if not now then when?………




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