Playground Gifts

Katie - Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
Entered on January 12, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children

There are millions of people in this world. Many of them are old, many of them are middle-aged, many of them are teenagers, and many of them are young children. Some of these people are pleasant, and some of these people are snobs. Some people have nothing while others have more than enough. However, through the hardest of the hard times and the best of the best times, children always seem to shine through, radiating their happiness to everyone around them. I believe that children have the capability to drastically change others.

Last summer, I went to the island of Trinidad and Tobago. Every day I went into a community full of under-privileged children who lived in government housing because their families could not afford to pay for their own homes. Many of these children’s parents were extreme marijuana addicts, and it broke my heart to see parents who did not take advantage of their precious children- their precious gifts. After school, the kids would walk home where they would then play in a grass field filled with glass from broken bottles and other items. This field was their playground. This was where they would grow up.

Often times, kids came to me asking for band-aids as they revealed their bloody, wounded feet. These children sliced their feet numerous times a day because they refused to wear their shoes- they wanted to preserve them so that they would last longer. Although these kids lived under such horrible circumstances, they never lost their smiles or continuous laughter. Each boy and each girl were full of life as they knew it, and their loyal friendships with each other were mind boggling. I learned from these children. They completely changed me. I could not stand the fact that these individual elementary school students could not run home to a safe house that they could call their own. In reality, it did not matter what I could or could not stand. This was their life. Not mine. This was where they were happy. This was their playground.

Children are inspiring. They are full of life and their innocent glowing faces radiate happiness to others around them. Their smiles and laughter are contagious, and it hurts to see a sad child when they are gloomy. To witness a child learning to read, write or sing the alphabet is one of my favorite feelings and their presence always enlightens my mood. Each child is different and has so much to offer. Unbeknown to them, their innocent hearts are full of wisdom and affection.

I believe that children are gifts- and irreplaceable ones at that.