October 29, 2011

'..to be just we have to give..'

i realized recently that the group of kids who come for tutoring do not know these basic facts:
  • how many days and months are in a year
  • how many seconds are in a minute
  • how many minutes are in an hour
  • how the earth revolves around the sun or the moon around the earth
when i contemplate how many millions of poor children in the world who are like this group of children, completely unaware or ignorant of so many essential facts and reference points for living in this world, it makes all of the articles, essays, blogs and commentaries about the importance of education by those of us who have had advantage, privilege, opportunities and wealth seem in vain.  let's stop spending all of our time on statistics and discourses and get out there in the neighborhoods actually helping kids, committing to even one child until that child is educated well.
there are always a few children in the group who are especially downtrodden.  it takes a while before the layers are peeled away and i can discern more of what is going on at home.  immediately, though, i know that some children have very little parental influence in their lives.  they almost always have no father living at home and an overworked, underpaid mother who is struggling to survive.  this usually results in a lack of affection and encouragement.  somehow these kids get through life and school, relying heavily on their friendships as an anchor in their lives.

as heavy as my heart is sometimes, i seem to have endless energy to do something, somehow, someway, to improve these children's lives.  at the fundamental level they need love.  love for me is shown through constant affection, encouragement, literacy and practical assistance.  as Baha'u'llah proclaims, "The betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds, through commendable and seemly conduct." 

as i help them, they help me grow as well toward this lofty ideal.

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