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The Riches of Innocence

By Eddie Velez

The most precious gift we have in this world is not diamonds, music, art or delectable food – it’s a child. Now, one may argue the point from the Japanese perspective, where they believe an elder is most valuable, because he or she have experience and wisdom (which takes time to acquire) to share with the young, shaping the future. If that were so, then why would Jesus say (and I paraphrase), “Whoever causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to tie a millstone around their neck and throw it into the sea.” In my humble opinion, because once innocence is lost, it can never be regained.

kids marching up a hillWhen you see a child, he or she is fearless, has big dreams and believes they can become whatever he or she chooses. However, when innocence is lost, dreams die and are replaced by fear, limitations and obstacles. Ambition becomes cautious, risk seems foolhardy and doubt prevails. Innocence lost is promise stifled! Who knows what that child would have contributed to humanity: an artist, singer, writer, doctor, scientist, missionary or world leader. What would this world be like if child abuse did not exist; if disease were restricted only to the elderly and love prevailed in every child’s life? How many optimists full of dreams and ambition would we have?

Drawing the Battle Lines

logosThis is why we are so passionate about working with organizations like Rapha House, JDRF and St. Jude Hospitals. While life may not be fair, we can choose to give up or we can do something about it. When a child is abused, we can step into his or her life, help heal their wounds, teach them they are special and that love and goodness DOES exist – they are not broken and worthless. When cancer or diabetes threatens to snuff another life, we can support the brilliant minds who have fought back and healed many, and provided comfort and quality-of-life for those they could not.

I remember going to All Children’s Hospital to support a fellow university student of mine, because her son was deathly ill. As I watched, Momma was hiding fear and tears in front of him; but he was fearless! He had no idea he could die at any moment; he just had the joy of being surrounded by those who loved him.

Not everyone can travel to a foreign country to help children, figure out how to slow down the progress of cancer or kill it, or how to improve the life of a child with diabetes or other illness – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. It’s the little things that matter: time volunteered to help carry the burden, donations made to help fund research or provide for the needs of a child, support given to an organization who is willing to do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. How do YOU choose to make a difference?

starfishI heard a story of little boy standing at the seashore, tossing starfish back into the ocean. There was a storm and thousands of them washed up on shore. A man came to the little guy and asked, “What are you doing?” The boy replied, “Saving the starfish.” “There are too many for it to matter; you can’t possibly toss ALL of them back.” replied the man. The boy looked at the man, picked up a starfish, tossed into the sea and said… “It mattered to that one.”

The little things you do may not save the world, but to the child that received rescue, care, medicine or a new home, feels like you saved his or her world. It mattered. So I challenge you to choose to make a difference. Don’t just think about it. Don’t just let this message move your heart and forget it. Do something. No matter how small. And, hopefully, one day, abuse will be wiped out and disease will be defeated, and children will no longer have to grow up fast and lose their innocence.

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