See that smile? That is the look of joy.
After a week like this one where our hearts get snagged by such deep heartbreak and loss of life, it becomes easy to lose our hope and faith in humanity. Yet, I choose to believe. I choose to see that even the smallest amount of good can bring light. I know it does. Just look at that smile.
It’s prizing-giving time in New Zealand. Prize-giving is a school award ceremony. Many deserving children are recognized for their efforts and accomplishments for the year.
But there are a limited number of prizes and not every child’s efforts can be acknowledged. A fact of life. We don’t all get to stand in the winner’s circle with confetti floating down on our heads. Yet, that does not mean that we didn’t give our best or put in effort.
When our name does not get called, it can feel like we failed. Especially when we have less-than-perfect circumstances surrounding our lives.
Zane was one of those kids who did not hear his name called at school. But he had a tutor who recognised that there was something very special about this young man. She made a special effort to celebrate him using “some pretty important stuff” she learned about him while supervising his homework.
Here is the list of prizes that his tutor awarded to Zane with the important information she learned (according to his foster mum):
1. A friend of the Tooth Fairy.
Zane’s birth mother didn’t find his tooth under his pillow when he was little which meant that because the tooth fairy didn’t show up, Zane didn’t believe she was real. Mrs G (the tutor) got him a little friend of the tooth fairy to prove she is real.
2. Light bulb box with some slime in it.
Zane was sometimes bright on the outside but his brain was a bucket of slime some days during study time. (Boy, I can relate to that, can’t you. Try as we may, somedays the lightbulb is dim.)
3. Body wash to stop him getting stinky.
Bodies and attitudes sometimes need a good scrubbing. (I’m sure this is all about showers, right, Zane? No stinky attitudes at your house!)
Zane stole Mrs. G’s favorite, comfy chair on some days and well, sardines seemed a fitting reward for stolen chairs.
Zane is a sharing person so Mrs. G made sure that he had something that he could share.
6. Hand Cream
This prize was something he could give to his foster mum to show that he cares about her.
7. Lemon Honey Spread
Well, just because thats his favourite spread.
Zane told us that the personal prize-giving ceremony made him feel special!!! And of course, it shows all over his face, doesn’t it.
These sweet gestures between a student and his tutor meant a lot to Zane and to his foster family.
Recognition (for both effort and encouragement to grow to be the best we can be) speaks volumes to our hearts. The fact that someone has taken notice of our existence and valued the fact that we have crossed their path gives us a feeling of significance. The gestures can be small but when they speak to the heart…the impact is huge.
If I listened only to the news on TV, I think hope might fall through the holes created in my heart by all the bad things in the world. Yet, when I open my eyes to the wonderful people all around me making a huge difference in people’s lives…I believe!
I believe that there is more good in the world than bad.
I believe that good overcomes evil.
I believe that love never fails.
And I believe that in order to make a difference, all we have to do is see people with eyes of love; get to know “important stuff” about them; encourage their hearts to keep trying and moving forward; and reach out (even in small ways).
And Mrs. G and Zane are just another proof that I should never lose hope.
Keep reaching out to each other! It matters!
Zane, keep up the good work. You won’t regret it!
Mrs. G, you continue to inspire and the world is blessed to have loving, caring hearts like yours!