Several times during one’s life, one has to write an essay about one’s heroes. I have had strong influence on the heroes my children have chosen to write about. I have not exactly bribed them, but I have made it clear that my pride in them will be so much more if they chose to write about Gandhi rather than about Justin Bieber, or about Mother Teresa rather than Miley Cyrus. I like to believe my girls have decided on their own that some of the greatest heroes in history are not the ones who have made a name for themselves because they look or sing good.
But yesterday my youngest, Kristin, caught me by surprise. Her essay about Cristiano Ronaldo, also known as CR7, was half-way done by the time I saw it. She was not going to change hero. She had no desire whatsoever to write about Martin Luther King jr. or about Gladys Aylward. She wants to spend her life playing soccer, so who is better to look up to than CR7. He is the best. He is cute. He is rich. He has it made.
I told Kristin to try to think of somethings about CR7’s character that made her admire him other than his soccer skills and cute face. And she found plenty. He gives lots of money to the poor. He went to Banda Ache to help after the tsunami in 2004. I felt like there was hope. She had chosen a hero who not only plays soccer well, but who cares about others. At least a little, it appears.
Her essay/powerpoint turned out well. She was proud and I was too.
But today I have thought, again, about the heroes our society promote. No wonder our kids chose the rich and the famous when we, the adults, make it look like they are the ones to admire.
Naomi, daughter #2 overheard a mom the other day forbid her daughter to walk into a store selling cheap clothes. “We don’t want to be seen in there,” she snared. Another mother admonished her toddler when the toddler wanted a pair of brightly colored pants: “Honey, this is not the color that is in-style this season.”
It surprises me that these kind of people, saying these kinds of things actually exist in real life. And it blesses me that I at least have raised my kids to recognize those kinds of values for the total bullshit it actually is. It gives me hope for my kids. It also gives me hope for mankind.
I want to believe that deep down inside most of us know that the real heroes of our world are the ones who spend time with refugees, who help the poor, who care for orphans, who spend time with the unlovelies, who live simply, who share what they have, who are not afraid to be seen with the “wrong” people, who sees each person as valuable in the sight of God, who recognizes that each person is created in the image of God and has the same value as I do.
I have this much hope in our race. I hope you do too.
Click here to get the whole scoop from Oddny’s blog: Hero, who are you? | Oddny’s Blog.
They cook their rice with fragments of vegetable and meat. They broil this porridge for their hungry children and long for a day when the food on their table satisfies the hungry groan in their stomachs. The families of Burma continue to suffer; the regime acts with brutal impunity and deception. But people think all is well. What to do when they kill the kids we try to feed, rape the girls we try to set free, torture the people who attempt to introduce change, and imprison the noble souls who seek and stand for justice?
I just got back from Sittwe, Western Burma, where 200,000 people have been forced from their homes and currently live in make shift shacks on the coast line of the bay of Bengal. Add a cyclone to the violence that put them in these camps and you have a recipe for very vulnerable and suffering people.
Tandoli camp is separated by train tracks. On one side are approximately 5000 displaced people and on the other another 3-5000 more. We (Partners Relief & Development) helped evacuate them as cyclone Mahasen approached land, then returned them to their tent camps after the storm blew North to Bangladesh.
Many of the people we interviewed in these two sections hadn’t had food in 4 days. As “unregistered” refugees they are not able to receive food distribution from the World Food Program, because distribution is based on numbers provided by the local government. In this case, it’s the authorities themselves who are marginalizing and attempting to cleanse the Rohingya people from Arakan, or Rakhine state, so the system of delivery is broken and the UN is powerless to intervene.
Before we left the Tandoli people, we distributed 5 tons of rice so that they would have sustenance for at least a few days. These are wonderful people who bear the image of God. This is my short impromptu speech before we unloaded the truck.
Please keep in mind that some of the points I make about faith directly address the divide between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma. The killing and violence here was fueled by prejudice. This was a deliberate move to build a bridge of reconciliation and durable peace between the two religious groups. Of course, I had to throw in that I am a Christian and we also care for them and their children. Again, building peace.