Orphans are like seeds in drought.
World renown author and speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, told stories about children, farmers, and the Death Valley in a talk that I think is very pertinent to our work as orphan care workers.
He said the power of imagination is one of the things that sets us apart as human beings. Every child is born with a tremendous amount of creativity and imagination. We seem to lose that as we grow older. However, he said, when a person says he’s not creative, it’s like him saying he is illiterate. Why? Because like illiteracy, creativity is something a person can be taught how to do.
Everyone who has grown crops like a farmer knows that we cannot make a plant grow. All the farmer must do is create the right environment for the plant to flourish. When this is done well, the plants grow and yield plenty of fruits. When it’s poorly done, the plants don’t grow. Orphan care is the same way. God has created orphans with the ability to thrive and succeed. They have it in them. All we need to do is provide the right environment that nurtures growth. But we cannot take this lightly. Many people who become farmers spend a lot of time learning how to farm from parents or from a university. There are degree programs in agriculture that train people to farm. Even though farming may sound simple, it would be naive to think we can simply teach ourselves how to farm and be as productive as we possibly could. Yes, it is possible to teach ourselves how to do certain things. But this doesn’t compare to getting guidance from people who’ve done it before. Most of the time, if we fail teaching ourselves something, the consequence may be that we simply do poorly at it. There is no great harm. If we don’t provide the optimal conditions for each orphan to thrive, we put their futures in danger. That is a serious thing. It’s not enough for us to think that “something is better than nothing” and so any care is better than no care at all. That’s not true when it comes to human beings. If we feel called to care for orphans, then we must give our best and serve them as though we were serving children of kings.
Finally, he talked about the Death Valley, a desert valley located in Eastern California. Situated within the Mojave Desert, it is the lowest and driest area in North America. Death Valley holds the record for the highest recorded temperature on Earth. Many people thought nothing could grow in the Death Valley. This was until one year when it rained in the Death Valley and flowers soon bloomed in that valley. Life was present in the Death Valley; it was just dormant. Then drought returned to it and the flowers died again. All the while, good seeds remained there waiting for the right conditions for the plants to grow and flourish. Like these seeds in the Death Valley, the potential of orphans is lying dormant waiting for someone to create the right conditions. Indeed, these dead bones can live. You and I are the called ones, we must serve God’s orphans with fear and trembling. We cannot give them second class care. Many of us who start orphanages wouldn’t be allowed to start a daycare in America (if we are Americans) or in our own countries because we are unqualified. Yet, without training, we want to start an orphanage that would care for children from one or two years old to 16 or 17 years old. It’s unfair for us not to think about learning as much as we can before we start and then continuing to learn through out lives. Let’s be like doctors and nurses who train well before starting work and then are required to receive continuing education. They are required by their governments to do this. But God is watching how we care for orphans. God requires us to give our best to his orphans. We all need to stop and think.