what fortunate means…illustrated with crappy pictures™

We went to the post office the other day and I gave my change to a homeless man who always sits outside with a sign. On this particular day, my son questioned why I gave him my change.

At some point during the car ride home, I must have said something like "giving to those less fortunate" because hours later, that same night, the following conversation happened…

He asks me what "fortunate" means and I know immediately he is still thinking about the homeless man we encountered earlier.

He isn't satisfied with a synonym like "lucky" which I attempt at first. No, he desires a deeper explanation.

So I try.

I basically tell him that we are fortunate because we have a home and the homeless man might have to live in a cardboard box.

At first, I think I did a pretty good job.

But he latches onto the cardboard box idea too eagerly.  Too enthusiastically. 


And by the look on his face I can tell he has the wrong idea.


So I try again. Further explaining how it would basically suck to be homeless. Being an adult female, I mention not having a bathroom. Obviously.

He asks me where the man goes to the bathroom to clarify.

I could tell I have failed once again.


So I get smarter.

I think about who my audience is.

And try again. 

Having no freezer in your cardboard box has lots of consequences.


He gets it. Fully understands the impact.

So much so that he is downright concerned. He comes up with his own charitable idea.

And I say sure. That we can ask the man if he wants one.

So next time you see a little boy handing an ice cream treat to a homeless man at the post office…

Well, that little boy just might be mine.

And THIS is what fortunate means.


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45 Responses to what fortunate means…illustrated with crappy pictures™

  1. luvs2read says:

    What a way to break it down to their level of understanding…

    We have to consider who our audience is, yeah, cardboard box fortresses and going potty outside is way too appealing to kids. Love all of your pictures/stories.

  2. HeatherW says:

    This one made me laugh out loud and then I got tears at the end. I absolutely love all of your work, please don’t ever stop writing these.

  3. Jessi says:

    I have both been the homeless and the mama with the child giving the homeless the change and the ice creams and this post made me laugh and tear up. <3

  4. Melissa says:

    So awesome! Love that. 🙂

  5. Kim says:

    this is one of the best ones yet. it made me smile and cry. your little man now knows what it means to be less fortunate!

  6. Jenny Buron says:

    We are all fortunate to have your funny wisdom. It makes me smile all the time when you can see little ones’ little wheels spinning in their heads!

  7. valleygirl says:

    thanks for this. like all the other commenters it made me laugh and cry. your ability to write and communicate to others is a BLESSING.

  8. Betsi says:

    My eldest has long dreamt of one day becoming a hobo. But he’s still got sound morals: he has decided he will never steal or illegally hop trains. Just beg.

  9. Aura says:

    Just came across your blog today, and I love it. I’ve already showed my husband a few of your posts. I think what always cracks me up the most are the expressions on your little stick people. Even though they are just stick people, they make the cutest and most realistic facial expressions. Love this space, keep up the good work, Mama 🙂

  10. ameensmummy says:


  11. Rhett Hoff says:

    Love it!

  12. Melanie says:

    Just as I sat down to my lukewarm breakfast grumpy about my son spilling his milk and my daughter dropping her unwanted breakfast on the ground, this was just what I needed to remember how fortunate I am. <3

  13. Donna says:

    Love your posts! I want to live at your home! 🙂 jk. sounds like some of my grandkids!

  14. I’m a first-time reader…loved it! 🙂 SO funny.

  15. Mandy says:

    Amber, Love going out to you and your family, I so want to be you when I grow up.

  16. Meghann says:

    You need to compile a book with all these blog posts and publish it. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Your life is my life to a tee. LOL. I laugh out loud at every post because I feel like you’ve been spying on my family! We even had the ‘fortunate’ talk about 3 months ago. Too funny.

  17. Jessica says:

    Your website is hysterical. I LOVE the “fortunate” post — your 4 year old sounds a lot like my 5 year old. 🙂

  18. Rohit says:

    A funny and very touching story. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Sharon says:

    Just discovered this treasure trove…genius! Made my day…

  20. Wenonah says:

    I can’t get enough of Parenting illustrated with Crappy Pictures! I am determined to make your site go viral! You tell stories that every mom can relate to. The crappy pictures are just icing on the cake!

  21. Lisa says:

    Love it, reminds me of a special guy I know. His mom tells us how he goes up to homeless people at the park and talks to them and hugs them. Now if we could only have the compassion that these little ones have.

  22. Cara L says:

    The children I used to babysit for couldn’t understand how or why prison was a bad place they didn’t want to ever wind up in. At last their mom described it as a place that they have “hard beds” in and that they are forced to “eat liver” there.

  23. hellyamber says:

    Just found your blog today and love it! Lol this post reminds me of the time my little brother (then about 7) saw an ad on tv for child sponsorship in some 3rd world country, they showed a child who had to leave school to spend his day catching rats, my brother couldn’t see how that would possibly be a bad thing 😉

  24. Tasha says:

    I laughed until I cried. =) My 3 yr old would have reacted the same way!

  25. Angela says:

    Loved this one! 🙂 So sweet! I just stumbled upon your blog last night and I’m in love with ya! 🙂

  26. jessicapea says:

    Adorable and hilarious 🙂

  27. anne says:

    when trying to explain to my 3 year old why and for whom our church hosts the soup kitchen for, i talked about getting food out of dumpsters. now when we pass a homeless person i have to clamp my hand on his mouth because he really wants to ask, really loudly, if that particular person eats out of a dumpster.

  28. Rach says:

    Oh my my tummy is hurting!!!! I love this one!!!

  29. Jan Hunt says:

    This is so lovely and inspiring! You and your son are both fortunate. Thank you for writing this!


    Jan Hunt, M.Sc., Director
    Natural Child Project
    “Children reflect the treatment they receive.”

  30. Kiara Sophie says:

    I am really thankful to the author of this post for making this lovely
    and informative article live here for us. We really appreciate ur effort.
    Keep up the good work. . . .seo firm

    • Susan says:

      Amber, I think you need to delete the comment I’m replying to. It’s a spammer. 🙁

      However, your post perfectly illustrates how to bring it to a child’s level (and how hard that can be!) Thanks –

  31. Rachel says:

    I have tears and nearly woke the baby from laughing.

  32. I love this one. I’ve tried to explain this to my kid and failed miserably. I’ll try the “no ice cream” approach next time. 🙂

  33. Mummy_too says:

    I think your writing is awesome and hilarious and real. Great Job! 🙂

  34. Kathy says:

    Love this one! Really enjoying reading through your posts!

  35. Kai M says:

    Thanks for all of your stories. I loved this one, and was shocked that, given it’s human touch, it had only 36 comments, yet the one about difficult pets had over 500–so sad. Too bad that people tend to latch more on to the possible negative messages for self-validation, than the positives of this beautiful message.

    I found your post a few days ago, at the beginning stages of the terrible twos. Thanks for helping me laugh, in a much needed time 🙂

  36. Marisa says:

    “And THIS is what fortunate means.”

    Exactly how I felt when my then 6yo daughter gave 95% of her year’s savings to Salvation Army.
    The bell ringer tried to talk her out of giving, thinking she didn’t get it… but we’d had a similar conversation to yours.

    Fortunate indeed.

  37. Julie says:

    I don’t know if you get a notification of comments on old posts but i’m going to try anyway…
    Just wondering if you ever did go back and buy the homeless man an icecream?

  38. Julie Greder says:

    We have all the ice cream we could have…..yes we are truly fortunate! Thanks for sharing:)

  39. Sruthi says:

    Hilarious! I just love all ur posts!

  40. Funk says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

  41. Tyra says:

    No ice cream, no dinosaurs to play with, and no “Calliou”…of course if Calliou we’re to fall off the face of the Earth, I would be very fortunate.