Science suggests that our attention span is limited to a mere 8 seconds. I’d like to suggest that our world can be changed dramatically, in even less time than that.
People find themselves discontent easily in our digital world. Bored and disinterested without constant and ever-changing flows of information. We believe that joy must be sought out and found within our grasp, on our own terms. Disappointed when the next thing doesn’t fulfill our growing discomfort.May I suggest that joy can be found in under 8 seconds if we stop to look for it? Click To Tweet
We are just looking in the wrong places.
The secret to joy? It is found in the smiles of children.
As a parent, I’ve long known the power of a child’s smile, but this year? I learned that joy is not directly related to what we can give our kids.
Naturally, we WANT to give our children good things. We WANT to keep them safe, and healthy, and well provided for.
But those things, shockingly, are not 100% necessary to bring a smile about from a child.
My daughter has been traveling the globe this year on a mission trip called the World Race.
She has generously allowed me to share some of her spectacular photos, in the desire to change the face of poverty. These missionaries have devoted 11 months to sharing Jesus and serving in some of the globe’s most breathtaking locales.
These locations share another similarity…need. Often there is crushing poverty.
The thing is, that is not what these pictures tell the story of. Through the dirt and lack and need, shines another bright beacon.
My own heart has agonized as she shares stories of the children. Yet, that isn’t the lesson I take away from her photos.
In every single country, these children have shown remarkable hope in the face of adversity. Their lives are not easy nor comfortable.
What they lack in material goods or even nutrition? They are exceedingly blessed in their ability to hope.
To be curious.
To love generously.
I think the least we can do is to live in gratitude, and even better? Pray for those with need, and lend a helping hand whenever possible.
Parents of these children want the same things we do, here in America, for their children. Our hearts share the same love and dreams for the small people we give life to.
But without the ability to give them what they desire in many regards, what I see in these pictures is what they can give.
My daughter shares these stories too.
The universal nature of hope that strings these children together. Their devoted and natural love for each of my daughter’s colleagues on this wild adventure.
Does this diminish the reality of their hardship to celebrate the joy in their smile?
I don’t think so. Jesus loved the little children, and the opportunity to share these photos reminds us that we should too.
Most of us will never travel the globe and serve in this capacity. It is very difficult, there is no romance in the reality of poverty.
But the privilege of seeing the joy on a child’s face who has so little?
May we all come away with prayers in our heart for their needs, and gratitude in our hearts for our abundance.
We don’t need to look so hard for joy.
I do believe we just need to look on a much smaller scale. Let’s celebrate the laughter of children. Let’s eagerly lean in to see the ferocity of hope in their eyes. Let’s engage with them by turning up the corners of our own smiles.
Recently, the team was able to enjoy the fellowship of young women plucked out of very painful stories.
The ladies are given skills and shelter and the only commodity they’ll never run out of…Jesus. They are hope-full.
One of my favorite things is to see how my daughter interacts with the amazing people she is privileged to serve.
It isn’t a one-way street. They serve her too, in countless ways.
These sweet photos of a child exploring a camera, something we walk around with disinterest, so common are they, remind me to look at the world with continued wonder.
Very soon, my own child will be returning home.
She anticipates a clean bed, plentiful food and rest for her weary body. This has taken a toll on her in many ways, like all of the racers most likely. But the experiences she had, will be the stuff that carries her on for a lifetime.
Her spirit is full of awe for the wonders she has experienced around the world. Adventures have been plentiful! Even rafting level 5 rapids on the Nile River!
But these moments, the ones with the children, perhaps are among her greatest treasures. I can’t WAIT to hear the stories of her experiences.
To beg of her one more story to go with the children in each and every miniature snapshot of the world…
So is science right that we are stunted in our over stimulated brains to stop and look beyond the 8 seconds?
Nope. For scientific studies don’t include the variable of children.
The hope that transfers from seeing their smiles, as our own mouths crinkle in wide smiles of our own.
Many thanks to my daughter for sharing these beautiful pictures, and reminding us that the world isn’t different in the ways that really matter.
Hope is what these racers travel so hard and long for. Except they are just giving it away, they are bringing it home in abundance.
What I see in places I didn’t expect, through these pictures? Is authentic joy.
It is humbling, so very humbling.
Mathew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.