The Crime of Squandering Undeserved Benefits
Those of you who have read my previous articles, would know that I tend to be a bit academic and try and share my philosophies and experiences from a cognitive, emotional and spiritual intelligence point of view. Tonight’s article is a bit emotional, purely emotional, but one I feel I have no other option but to write. And with no regrets about feeling emotional!
I had the privilege of attending a school concert tonight of the Chere Botha School for special needs children. Not that I at first considered it a privilege. My wife’s cousin was supposed to go as I was supposed to be abroad tonight. And then my trip was cancelled, and the tickets were sold out. I was safe! Then this afternoon my wife’s cousin informed her that she had to cancel. And I had no reason not to go! And so I went. Like a lamb to the slaughter, I would have told you at 19h00 tonight!
I sat there at first with an open mind. After all, I was there to support my wife’s sister, who was a teacher at the school. And I watched the parents and other guests. Given the school, and the fact that the children were special needs children, most, if not all, of the audience were either parents, and other family members, or people like me who were related to teachers, I did not expect much. And I was right not to.
But that was not the point! The story was simple, and somewhat amusing – a parody on Cinderella, but here the lead was a boy whose 3 brothers were abusive towards him. All 4 of them were special needs children! One of them, incidentally, got lost at school this afternoon, which sparked off a search effort of major proportions!
I watched the joy on the children’s faces. At times, some of them clearly felt a bit intimidated, but there were teachers and parents who helped on the stage. And my heart went out to the parents in the audience. It’s not as if they had chosen to have a special needs child – you don’t choose, you receive and you love and cherish! And it’s not as if you can give the child back! And most, if not all of those parents, had other children who were “normal” – in the way we would define normal. And I wondered how and where they got the grace from to love and cherish unconditionally. And I wondered whether they at times rebelled at the situation they found/find themselves in?
Gareth, a professional who helps in concerts like these, made the remark that the parents might ask why, but that for the children themselves, their situation was perfect! They had no frame of reference other than their situation. They knew no other situation, and live was perfect for them. And I know the teachers at Chere Botha have beautiful and open hearts for their “children!”
It still did not keep me from sitting there with tears streaming down my cheeks when Joey, the principal, thanked her teachers and the children for the effort everyone had put in for tonight. She had a lot to be blamed for, for she herself was quite tearful as well. We cried in unison!
The reality is that most of us will have forgotten the intrinsics of the concert, but for the kids, tonight was a special evening that would stay for them for a very long time. It was their night! And they were the stars!
As I sat there trying unsuccessfully to gain control over my emotions, I thought about myself and other people, my own kids included, who took good physical and mental health as a right, as something which was just there! We talk about people with Downs’ syndrome without really knowing what it means, what pressures and stress are placed on the parents of such children. And we do not really know what the future holds for such people!
It is times like these that I realise that we owe it to humanity, to ourselves, and to our families and our societies, to use our God-given talents to their full potential. We have no other option but to live life to its fullest, using every bit of what we so undeservedly have received, to create a better future for ourselves and others in our circle of influence. We must embrace life and not sit back and wait for life to happen to us. We cannot afford to sit in our rooms and offices and have a “sorry I am alive” attitude!
If this is your situation, you need to wake up and realize you have been dealt a hand of cards, which you have no option but to play! Others have been dealt a much worse hand, through no “fault” of their own! You are privileged – wake up and realise this! It is a powerful reality!
And if life were fair, which it is not, it should have been possible for someone or something to take your “gifts” which you are ignoring, and to give it to someone more deserving!
Thank you Chere Botha, for making me attentive to something which I have assumed as the norm, nothing to feel special about. Thank you for emphasizing the need to be grateful and thankful for the faculties I have received, and to be humble about those faculties, as I had done nothing to receive them. I did not earn them; I received them free of charge! Thank you for highlighting the need to use those faculties productively, as there are people and children who would have loved to have them!