As we navigate the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is easy to lose sight of the simple wonders that surround us. We become accustomed to the routine, the familiar, and often take for granted the little things that make life extraordinary. It is a humbling reminder that sometimes, we need to view the world through the innocent and unfiltered lens of a child to truly appreciate the magic that life has to offer.
It took a special lunch, on 1st December, with a group of nine students, whom we have been supporting through their secondary school education, to remind me of the magic that lies in seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
To refer to them as a “child” may be incorrect, considering that some are in their late teens, while others are on the brink of adulthood. Nevertheless, their excitement was endearing and reminiscent of my own childhood, a special time, when every new discovery was something to be marveled at, and every new experience was an adventure to be stored away as a precious memory to be relived and enjoyed over time.
Imagine the thrill of stepping into a mall for the very first time—the vastness, the bright lights, and the myriad of stores calling out for exploration. For these students, this experience was nothing short of a grand adventure. As we stood before the towering escalator, their eyes widened with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. It was not just a mechanical staircase to them; it was a ride to the unknown, an exhilarating journey up to new heights.
The real magic, however, unfolded when we settled down for lunch and presented them with slices of pizza. The sheer delight on their faces as they bit into this cheesy treat for the first time was infectious. We, who have tasted pizza countless times, might forget the novelty of those flavors. But for them, it was a symphony of tastes and textures, a gastronomic revelation that sparked joy.
The mall’s Christmas decorations, a sight many of us might pass by without a second thought, became a source of wonder for our young guests. Twinkling lights, festive ornaments, and a towering Christmas tree all contributed to a spectacle that they absorbed with wide-eyed awe. It was a reminder that the world, with all its glitter and glamour, is a magical place when seen through the eyes of a child.
They shared their aspirations for the future with us both before and during the meal. Three of them expressed a desire to pursue a career in nursing, while another his hopes of becoming a carpenter and designing furniture. It was exciting to listen to their individual aspirations for a secure future and humbling to realize that they were entrusting us with their dreams and hopes.
Each of the students were presented with a beautiful bracelet, which they promptly put on and then sat admiring.
As a final treat, we all stopped for some ice-cream and once again witnessed unbridled delight as they giggled their way through the delicious treat. As we said our goodbyes to them, I was grateful for the experience and made a promise to myself to never lose sight of the magic around us.
What struck me the most, however, were the messages of gratitude that echoed throughout the day. Simple expressions of thanks for the invitation, for the lunch, for the experience and for supporting their education. It was a humbling reminder of how the smallest gestures can leave the biggest impact. In their words, I heard the echoes of appreciation for the chance to savor life’s pleasures, both big and small.
In my most recent blog post, I shared what I believed was the highpoint moment of the year for me. However, this encounter with these youngsters could very well be contending for the top spot! Our connections with the students and community are an enduring gift, an experience that not only keeps on giving in the best way possible but also serves as a constant lesson in gratitude.
“The pursuit of beauty and truth is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” – Albert Einstein
In the midst of our hectic lives, this encounter with the students served as a wake-up call—a call to pause and appreciate the world around us as if we were seeing it for the first time. Their genuine excitement and gratitude were a testament to the power of embracing life with the heart of a child—a heart that finds joy in the simplest of things, a heart that knows how to be grateful for each moment. Let us rediscover the magic in the mundane and approach each day with a heart full of wonder.
So, as the holiday season approaches and we rush through the malls and festivities, let us take a moment to step back and see the world through the eyes of a child. Let us savor the taste of our favourite foods, marvel at the decorations, and find joy in the company of others. Because, in the end, it is the childlike wonder that can truly make the ordinary extraordinary.