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The Little Boy with the Orange Water

orange water

A couple weeks ago, I came across the picture you see above.

One day, not too long after finding this picture, I had it up on my computer screen when my son Landon (4 years old) asked me, “Daddy what’s that?” I asked him, “Son what do you see?” He responded, “A little boy with orange water.”

After he said that, I started to have a whole new perspective on the picture. A new picture began to form in my mind. Suddenly, aspects of the picture that I initially overlooked started to come to light.  Aspects like the value he looks to be placing on that bottle or the fact that he looks alone, abandoned, helpless, and forgotten.

On the surface, there’s not a whole lot to the picture. We see no shack behind him. There aren’t several other children surrounding him. It’s just a little boy, on a dirt road, with a bottle of orange water in his hands. However, if you look a little deeper you see so much more. You see a heartbeat.  You see a voice.  You see potential.  You see value.  You see a gift.

Forward the tape to a few days ago. I had the picture up again when Landon walked by. We proceeded to engage in a conversation that still makes me feel like I was talking to another thirty year old. As Landon and I were going back and forth, I randomly asked him, “Landon what do you think about using the money we were going to spend on another video game and give it to this little boy instead?”

For the response he gave to really hold water, it’s important that you know how much he loves his video games.  Taking that into consideration, Landon responded with words I won’t soon forget. Words that shook me to my core. Words that humbled me. Words that made me proud. Words that shined a light on a new type of responsibility. A responsibility that required our immediate response.

He said, “I want to give my money to that little boy because I don’t want him to die and I want him to have white water.”

With those words, I was awakened and reminded of the responsibility I have as a father to impress upon my children the principles and values that will shape them. A responsibility to condition and program in them a thought pattern opposite to the “I want more now mentality ” that is setting our kids up to be part of a generation that will have little to no real impact.

But this post isn’t about fatherhood or our kid’s generational responsibility to society. It’s not about clean water. It’s not even about poverty per se. This post is about recognizing. Recognizing that there’s another world outside of our own. It’s about taking on. Taking on the responsibility of love and service to others. It’s about listening. Listening to the cries of the unheard. It’s about carrying. Carrying the burden, in some capacity, for those who are oppressed and exploited. It’s about re-sensitizing. Regaining a sensitivity to brokenness. Most vitally, it’s about doing something. Something, that reveals in us the truth that our good intentions are validated only by our implementation and our sincere motives are certified only by our movement.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  He’s setting me up.  He’s about to drop the hammer on me. The guilt trip conclusion must be on the horizon.  Well, it isn’t. You can put your minds at ease.

I promise I’m not going to direct you to a humanitarian website, recommend things you can invest your money in that will outlive you, tell you how to spend your time between the hospital and the shelter or share with you “one of those videos” that will wreck you emotionally. And I’m not going to list a bunch of statistics either. Statistics have a tendency to startle and stir but rarely ever create anything sustained.

What I am trying to get across is that doing something really is the answer. Doing something, anything, not only heals others but also heals us.  So with that, I leave you with a great starting point.  A simple formula to help and support the forgotten and the unheard.  Here it is: Pray, Identify, Connect and Act.  That’s it.  No wallet opening.  No credit card swiping.  Take a second out of your day to pray for the protection of the unprotected.  Identify a cause you’re passionate about.  Connect with those who possess that same passion.  And lastly, take action.

May we realize that when we do nothing, we become inadvertent accomplices to abject situations in the midst of our affluence.  Our affluence literally has the power to alleviate the agony of those in despair.  May we never take this responsibility lightly.  May our levels of compassion rise and may we all be moved to do something.  Anything.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  -Edmund Burke

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