I have been on several Compassion trips and I always love to ask the kids what they dream of becoming when they grow up. Even at young ages, I have found that children all around the world have dreams of becoming something awesome. So today we went to visit one of the homes of a sponsored child and I ask this shy little boy what he dreamed of becoming. I was completely surprised by his response.
Pete, Melissa, Anne and Becky (Shaun’s wife) were with me when we went to this sponsored child’s home. As the leader of my little group I was really hoping that the home visit would be educational and impacting. From the get go there was no doubt that this little guy lived in poverty. His home was built with sticks and plastic tarps and was the size of an 8 person tent you might buy at Costco. It was furnished with one full size bed where this boy sleeps with his mother, father and little brother (a family bed). Outside the front door of the home was a kitchen that consisted of a small fire pit and a couple of pans, old plastic water bottles and a couple of dishes.
The parents greeted us as we entered the home, but they definitely held themselves in a submissive manner, as if we might lash out at any time. We asked a bunch of questions and learned that the father is sometimes employed, however, he has been very sick with jaundice. The mother was not employed. We learned that without sponsorship, this little boy would not be in school. The parents answered all our questions, but something was missing. I realized there was no emotion. This family was flat lined. While we visited with this family I kept waiting for the joy, the glimmer of hope, but I wasn’t hearing it. I wasn’t feeling the usual inspiration that comes from a family helped by Compassion and I certainly wasn’t sensing the joy that comes with knowing Christ. I wanted my group to hear something inspirational too. So then I thought of a brilliant question that would certainly liven things up. I had asked the sponsored boy what he wanted to be when he grew up and he looked at me as if I asked him how to solve a calculus problem. He did not have an answer. This boy did not have a dream.
The Compassion staff person instantly explained to us that a child in this kind of poverty and condition does not learn to dream. They have never seen the city, they do not know the possibilities that exist beyond their slum, they never see their parent’s dream of a better life and they do not understand the concept of dreaming or hope. This Hindu dominated culture has ingrained those living in poverty to believe they are worthless of anything good and that they deserve nothing. It’s simply oppressive. As I reflect on today, my heart hurts for the hopelessness that I see in the people here in Kolkata and I am disturbed over the despair that is visible everywhere I look. I hurt for the family I met today and I pray they find the joy of Christ. I want that little boy to find joy too. I want him to have hope and dreams and I want him to be happy. The good news is that this little boy is sponsored and he is being taught to dream of a better life. He is hearing the gospel of Christ and he is learning about God’s love. It will take time for this boy to dream because the hopelessness is so engrained in him through generations, but I believe this little guy will find his dreams.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
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