The kids who had me in tears this week

August 28, 2015

Dear Max

There are days I want more stuff, more travels, more everything. I want bigger stuff (though always a smaller waistline and thighs), and I want what other people have that I don’t (which, if I think about, is not a lot).

Then along comes an experience or moment when I’m proverbially slapped in the face, and get embarrassed and ashamed for even getting to that point.

It happened this week in a school in Alexandra, where we popped in for a handover of an iPad lab. Many of these kids don’t have the support of both parents, some come from very challenging backgrounds, and for many, they have bigger issues than not getting the latest LEGO, or completing their Stikeez collection (I realise everything is relative).

This is not a new issue, and this is not a post to remind you how unbalanced things are in the world, or to make you feel guilty for what you do have. Rather, it’s a post about the reminder of being grateful, and I only have to see children overwhelmed with the gesture of getting a sweet, and their huge praises of thanks, to remember my abundance.

If there were grateful thank-yous for a sweet, there was dancing, singing and endless thank-yous for the 20 iPads for a few hundred kids, which will enhance their learning and classroom experiences. It didn’t make me feel guilty for giving you an iPad when you were two, or bringing you into an environment where you can have a sweet or chocolate any time you want. But it made me feel guilty for not being content with my opportunities and collection of things.

I cried when these kids sang and danced. It was a combination of sadness for kids who grow up with enormous challenges, happiness for seeing such amazing spirit and heart there, and experiencing such a brilliant moment.

What a privilege it was, and what a privilege to be ushered out by a learner, who as we left, said: “Please will you do me a favour…. please will you do this [give iPads} for every child in South Africa”. It was unexpected and heartwarming, and I don’t think I’ll soon forget how one boy thought of every other child in the country.

Love Mom

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