I drive to work along a main road that runs past a poverty-stricken settlement. It is an area notorious for unrest, poor education and deep socio-economic crisis.
Every day there are streams of children walking to the local school alongside the road, some looking as young and vulnerable as 5 years old, and others that are clearly in their teens, unsure of their identity in this great, messy world of theirs.
Squad cars and police officers are scattered daily along the route to watch the children, and to help them to cross the road safely.
It’s a different realm entirely, one ravaged by uncertainty, danger and tragedy.
Not too long ago, I was stuck in traffic on this road. I found myself watching the children walk in their rowdy clumps, the boys stomping up clouds of red dirt, the girls hopping and skipping over dongas giggling into each other’s arms.
As my car crept along, I watched two young boys, maybe six years old, walk side-by-side for some distance. The taller of the two reached into his pocket and produced a green lollipop. There was some exchange between the two boys, and the taller one looked around frantically on the ground, searching for something.
At last, he seemed to find what he needed. He bent down over a flat rock, dusted it off, and positioned his prized sweet carefully. Picking up another rock, he brought it down on the lollipop gently, but firmly… just enough to split it in half, spilling precious sherbet and sucker shards onto the ground.
Carefully picking up the two lollipop halves, the taller boy turned to his friend, and gave him one half, popping the other into his own mouth.
I don’t think I need to say much more, to get across what I’m trying to say. Whoever we are, whatever we have, let nothing excuse us from the responsibility that we have to our fellow humankind.
All he had was one little, green lollipop.
You have something to give, whether it is food, money, education, toys, books, knowledge, or even just time.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible” ~ The Dalai Lama