Lila Jarrow calls Pearland home today. She’s lived there for more than 20 years. That’s where she raised her daughter and son. For the last ten years, she’s been a school teacher, currently molding the young lives of 2nd graders in Garden Villas Elementary School in HISD. Lila was raised in Wharton with her 10 brothers and sisters. She says the life lessons learned in that loving home have served her well. One remarkable event on a hot summer day changed the way she views charity. That’s the focus of her essay for Houston Public Radio’s “This I Believe”.
Here is Lila Jarrow with her essay for Houston Public Radio’s This I Believe.
“I believe if I give something away, I will give the best I can give.
Growing up in a large family, there were lots of laughs, lots of love, lots of people and lots of things we did not have, or have enough for everyone.
There were times when people donated much needed items to our family, and we always received them graciously. Then we would go inside the house and go through the cloths or whatever was in the box. Most of the time, we would discover that there would only be one or two garments or maybe a pair of shoes in the entire package that was wearable. The others, mama would mend, sew on buttons, and sometimes even rip apart and make something different. She never talked about it, but I noticed and knew what she was doing. She just got a needle, thread, and scissors and got to fixing.
I knew when I saw her working to fix up things, something was wrong. After she would finish, she would say, ‘‘If you give someone something make sure it’s worth giving away.’’
Of course some people REALLY knew how to give. I can remember one summer day sitting outside with mama reading the Bible. We had no food or money for food. I was hungry and I asked about food. Mama would say, ’’I don’t know what we will eat but God knows what we need. He always answers our prayers”. Without our knowledge, someone had prepared a feast for us. Not just someone but the entire staff of the church a neighbor attended. Minutes later, we saw our neighbor walking from her house to ours with a roasting pan in her hands. The pan was filled with a turkey and stuffing. She talked to mama. My brother and sister and I walked back to her house with her to gather up all the trimmings. Including desert! It wasn’t even Thanksgiving! We had a feast fit for a King. I don’t think any of us ever forgot that Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the summer. We were thankful! I am still thankful!
I have grown up now and give many things to others. Sometimes the people are less fortunate, and other times I just want to share.
I believe if I give something away, it will be the best I can give.
This I Believe.”