Monday, October 10, 2005

adventures with children

There is something amazing about children. They seem not to see the same divisions adults see, they seem to understand that we are all made in the image of God, they love everything and everyone. Every day I have at least a dozen 6-8 year old girls tell me they love me. Every day I get at least a dozen affirmations that I am loved and wonderful and needed, and that these girls are affected by the stories I tell them, by the things I teach them, by the way I treat them. They don't care that I'm American and they're Egyptian, they don't care that some of their classmates have travelled and others haven't, they don't care that 4 of the 240 of them look like foreigners, they just care that someone has come to take them to the library every week and read them a storybook. Someone who cares enough to ask "what does your favorite toy look like?" or "can you make the face your mom makes when she's mad?" or "do you know the sound a horse makes?" or to say "thank you! I love you too!" And they show their love--with hugs, with hundreds of "Miss, I love you!"'s, with shouts from their classrooms every time I walk by in the hall. It's fantastic. If only we could keep these wonderful 6 year olds away from their adult family members who often will teach them to hate Sudanese refugees, to laugh at western women, to dislike people of other religions...why can't they stay as they are now, loving each other without realizing that half are Muslim and half are Christian, without caring what they look like, without a sense that some people are worth less than others. I hope that in this year of reading stories to them and teaching in their religion classes, I can help them maintain some of this innocence that looks so much like God's wisdom, maybe somehow I can water the seed of respect and love so it won't die from the non-love that people can often display. Hopefully. These children are wonderful, and they show so much promise for the future and for now. I love them!

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