Children are often much more in tune with the soul than we give them credit for. They approach life with the benefit of a simple world view untainted by stress, pain, and heavy responsibility. Though they are selfish at times, there are moments in which they blow you away with their wisdom, generosity, and ability to love unconditionally.
Two children left our world this week. Christina Taylor Green was shot and killed while going to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Born on the date that changed our nation, 9/11/01, this little girl was a born leader and already had an interest in politics. She had told her parents she wanted to help people less fortunate than her, and she was quite aware of how blessed she and her family were. It is wild that a third grader wanted to meet a lawmaker, and tragic that she died trying to do so. I hope Christina’s death does more than bring on a few nods and that’s-a-shames. It should make every parent in this country turn and hug their children, see the worth of these beautiful little human beings, who, even though they annoy the heck out of us sometimes, are often wiser than us in matters of the heart.
For example, 13-year-old Jordan Rice is a tragic hero in the midst of the Australian floods. Jordan, his mom, and his little brother were standing on the roof of their car waiting to be rescued from the rising floodwaters. When a rescuer came to their aid, Jordan told him, “Take my brother first.” This, from a boy who was afraid of water and not a good swimmer. His brother was saved, but sadly, Jordan and his mother were swept away before the rescuer could return for them. Can you imagine what went through Jordan’s head in that moment? He chose his brother’s life over his own, consequently choosing his own death. An astounding, selfless act for a young teenager.
Henry Warch Beecher said, “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” Oh, the truth of that statement! Even if you don’t believe in God or heaven, you have to admit that children often help us adults become better people. They help us see the world in truth, without judgment or opinion; they embrace what they see in it with unique bravery and love, and hopefully inspire us to do so also.