Children are unique in every way you can possibly imagine. Some are unashamed to ask fifty-one questions about something or someone they know nothing about while others are not. Some are unafraid to love on you from the very first moment they meet you; while it takes others just a few moments to warm up to you. But, one of the most common traits I find in children is how observant they truly are.
While on my trip in Dominican Republic, my team and I had the privilege to visit an orphanage. Let me just say before I continue that these children are the sweetest and most courageous kids I have ever met. I remember on the drive there I was mentally and emotionally preparing myself to encounter children who were going to be closed to having us with them for the day. Believing that we would have to work extra hard for them to open up and get involved in what we had planned for them, I ended up surprised because they were the complete opposite. They were so willing.
I remember our leaders announcing to us that we were around the corner from the orphanage and I was in the car thinking “okay here we go,” “prepare yourself.” When one of the workers opened the gate, our vans pulled in one by one, and as we pulled in and parked the girls from the orphanage began coming out one by one. Filled with curiosity, joy and excitement, they began approaching our vans wanting to know the faces of those who had arrived.
One little approached the van I was in, as soon as I opened my door she was eager for me to come out and play with her. She was so excited in fact that she began yanking at my arm, saying, “Come on, come one. Get out we have to go.” It was at that moment that I had to tell her I could not get out just yet because I had to wait for them to get me my chair. She then stopped, looked at me, and said to those putting my chair together, “Hurry, hurry, she is waiting!”
She waited by the van until they took me out and brought me inside the orphanage. From the moment, I stepped out of the van this little girl did not want to leave my side. At one moment, she got behind my chair and began pushing me around the empty chapel located in the orphanage. As she was pushing me around, I did what I know best; lifted my hands and started yelling “wee.” Yes, you can conclude that I very much enjoyed the small adventure.
Then came lunch time, we were all sitting at the table and a little girl comes up next to me. I know she is curious and I am there patiently waiting for all her questions. Moments later, she began asking, “What happened to you?” I explained as best as I could to a child her age recalling the events that led to where I find myself today. After a moment passed, she asked, “Are you angry about what happened to you?” I looked at her and said, “No, I am no longer angry.” She asked “Why?”, I said “Because I know that God has a special plan for my life, for that is why I am able to be happy, laugh and smile.” She gave me the simplest, yet content smile I have ever seen a child give me in a conversation like this.
I barely knew her and she barely knew me, but it was as if in that very moment, she and I connected. It was the most unforgettable moment because I know that in that moment I was being an example and speaking life. Letting this little girl know that it does not matter what situation you came from, God can and will take you out to make you into something much greater. He will use your past as a platform to help those you encounter in your future.
A child understands and comprehends more than we give them credit for sometimes. If we take the time, break now our life experiences, and share with them in a way they can understand. Give them a before picture and let your current life be the after picture. We adults can be the greatest influence a child will encounter.