In my corner of the world, the lives of many of the children we work with are extremely hard. I wish it were not the case. They fear not having enough to eat. They worry about being able to attend school from one year to the next, with the worry they might have to quit in order to work so their family can eat. The risk of mosquito and water-borne diseases is a reality for them. They’ve witnessed or personally had to face the kind of loss I could never begin to imagine in its difficulty.
But, when we are together in the small, one-room, crudely constructed church building, they seem like any other child anywhere else. We hug, talk, laugh, and play. Don’t get me wrong, a good number of them carry the signs of malnourishment and difficult life situations. But underneath the skin on the level that counts, we are all one and the same. Culture and life circumstances color and shape our thinking, but at the core we are alike. We all desire to have enough to eat, to feel safe, and to be happy.
Yesterday, while teaching the children English, I asked, “How do we love others?” They enthusiastically replied:
(Speak) good words.
Don’t make fun.
Make (others) happy…
I laughed with joy at their enthusiasm as I scrambled to write down all their answers on the white board.
These are wise words to live by out of the mouth of children!