Lessons learned from a child

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While serving in the orphanages, it amazed me that those who lacked so much, seemed to give the most freely.

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I think of visiting the Special Needs home for orphans in Quito. Pedro was severely mentally handicap and Juan was physically disabled.  I remember watching Pedro bend down to Juan’s wheelchair to help him put on his socks. And in return, Juan would speak for Pedro when he needed something. They both lacked so much, yet they used the abilities they did have to take care of each other.

I think of a birthday party for a 4 year old little girl. She opened the bag, and saw a big bag of taffy inside. She instantly exclaimed, “Now I can share with all of my friends!”. She was 1 of 80 children at the orphanage, and rarely if ever got something of her very own. However; her first response was to share what she was given.

I think of a Special Needs teen in a wheelchair. He paints ceramics as a form of physical therapy. He takes pride in his work and sells them. He often saves up so he can buy a new soccer jersey. But one day the orphanage budget was tight, and another boy needed to go to the doctor. I will never forget his selflessness when he agreed to pay for the Doctor appointment for his friend.

I think of a little boy who was adopted years ago. In his Christmas letter to Santa he asked, “Please bless people out on the street and orphanage. Because I was one of them and I wanted a family as bad as they do right now.”

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As adults, we often become more prideful or even down-right greedy when we receive more than someone else. But with children; it often has the opposite effect causing them to reach out in generous compassion.

It’s not just the children in the orphanages who have touched me by their compassionate examples. I met one little girl who collected donations for the orphanage, rather than ask for Birthday presents at her party. My nieces planned and prepared a lemonade stand and gave me a zip-loc baggie with $21.04 labeled, “for the orphans”. Another little girl donated a jar of money. Her kind mother explained she collected money for the orphans in celebration of her “gotcha day” when she was adopted.

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I often tell myself excuses, “I don’t have enough to give.” But children have taught me there are no excuses. Everyone has something to give. 

*Names of children have been changed to protect privacy.*