As I have been privileged to meet and spend time with children around the world I have learned great lessons from them.
Scriptures teach “and a little one shall lead them…" It is a common theological ideal found in many ancient forms of writing from Oriental writers to Greek and Roman. It is found throughout history and throughout the world because it is true.
A few lessons I have learned from the children I have met on my many travels are these:
1.“Bless that we will love everyone wherever we go” a thoughtful prayer uttered by a 10 year old boy in Cambodia. If only adults and political leaders could follow this boy’s example there might be peace throughout the world. What a sweet and simple, yet powerful, prayer to express each day. It’s all about love; loving everyone wherever we go.
2. “My name is Pasco” announced the gentle 11 year old boy in the Philippines. He lived in absolute poverty, his name was Michael Luis but they called him Pasco. Now, that is only significant if you know what Pasco means. Pasco means Christmas. What an amazing lesson to be learned from such a young, impoverished boy. He, who had nothing of his own, somehow managed to always have little gifts for his friends and family. So much so that he earned himself the nickname of Pasco. He was always giving. He is charity in action.
3. I learned a heartwarming lesson from a sweet 3 year old girl in Mongolia. When we arrived she was very shy and clung tightly to her mother. We got busy and began visiting with the family and taking photographs. Slowly but surely she started to warm up. At one point, I was in the bedroom setting up for the next shot. I wanted to photograph the three sisters. All of a sudden, sweet little Yuki climbed onto my lap. It didn’t matter anymore that I was from America. It didn’t matter that I, at 5’8” with long blonde hair, looked completely different than her mother, or any other woman she knew, for that matter. She now realized I was warm and kind. I was a mother too and I could love her.
4. The darling Ho boys: Mao and Wang from Hong Kong taught me another lesson. Even if you traveled the whole world over you couldn’t find cuter boys than these two brothers. After spending several hours with this wonderful family these boys decided they really liked us. We were sitting around the table and they were hiding underneath. They would hide, then sneakily peak their heads out and shout “Boo!” We would act surprised and giggle. They would fall back under the table laughing hysterically. Over and over “Boo!” hee hee hee hee! “Boo!” ha ha ha ha! I’ve come to truly appreciate that children are the same wherever we go. They play and laugh and giggle just like other children. All children like to be happy. All children want to be happy. And all children, if surrounded by a loving family, are happy no matter where they live.
This is why we rush through the day without eating enough. This is why we go without sleep. This is why we put up with 10 hour flights and 6 hour layovers. This is why we are here! To have our minds enlightened and our hearts enlarged. We come so we can share these lessons with others. We come so we can give back. We are constantly reminded that it is for these little ones.
That is why we are here. And the beautiful children lead us along the way.