While in Nicaragua, on a trip with World Vision, we visited a school in an impoverished community where World Vision is training teens to mentor younger students in their school on academic topics. Essentially, juniors and seniors are mentoring 3rd-6th graders in reading and math. As we listened to the student mentors, I was deeply inspired by their character, sacrifice, and effort in serving the younger students of their community. Because I was so inspired I choose to address the teens in a manner that was unique but very purposeful.
With my interpreter, I pulled up a chair right in front of the twenty students so that I could be close to them and look each of them in the eye. As I began, I shared with them that I want to speak to them as if I were their father and that they were to hear me as if the words are coming from their Papa.
What I said to them is this: “As your father I am incredibly proud of you. You are the very best this nation has to offer. You're sacrificial, in that each of you gives up your free time to mentor younger students. Most of you walk many kilometers to be here to instruct and encourage younger students. You, in fact, are not normal student leaders, but truly extraordinary leaders. Your hearts long to make a difference and give back to your community and thereby inspire students and teachers alike. Your effort is making a difference. You are raising up a strong generation. You are setting others up for success. You are setting this community up for success. You honor your family name and your honor your Lord Jesus Christ. As my son or daughter, I would choose you every time.”
Each student was deeply engaged in receiving this feedback and encouragement. Some even had tears in their eyes.
As I ended, the young 17 year old girl who was the leader of this team of mentors spoke these powerful words: “Thank you for seeing us for who we are, not for what we have.”
She stunned me. In our nation many strive to be seen for what they have, not for who they are. Just the exact opposite of this profound young lady.
As I reflected on her deep comment, my prayer became; “Lord, by your grace may my heart and effort be focused on being seen for who I am in Christ, and not for what I have.”
May we be as wise as this teen from an impoverished village in Nicaragua.
SVP, HR & Organizational Development at Family Christian