What Two Orphans Taught Me About How We See Others

There are so many factors that affect how we see people. What they are wearing. The color of their skin. Where they are from. How much money they have. Sadly, these superficial things become barriers and play a role in how we decide to engage with others. Judgements are made before we get to know people.

Photo from iStockPhoto.com

My next door neighbors just adopted two girls from an orphanage in Ethiopia. They are ages 5 and 9. My children, 5 and 7, went over to meet them for the first time this weekend.

At first glance these children couldn’t be more different. They’re from opposite sides of the world, speak a different language, and have contrasting skin color. One set of siblings grew up in a house, the other in a hut.

As I watched these children play together my eyes welled up and I experienced a kind of joy and hope I haven’t felt in a long time. Here are some things I observed:

  • Complete lack of judgement. The kids were excited to play together because they were together. Simple as that. They didn’t notice each other’s skin color, or outfits, or care who had more toys. They jumped on the trampoline, shrieking with joy and holding hands.
  • Primitive communication. The girls from Ethiopia don’t speak a word of English. That didn’t stop the kids from interacting and playing cooperatively for three hours. They used the basics: smiles and gestures.
  • Sharing is caring. Because of the language barrier, one way I noticed the kids establishing their relationship was through sharing. They passed around balloons, took turns with bowls at the water table, and offered each other help in and out of the trampoline.

Witnessing this beautiful, human-to-human interaction got me thinking. What’s wrong with the rest of us? The world is so broken.

We can change it. You can change it.

These four young kids demonstrated how we’re supposed to see and treat each other as human beings.

I know that the real world is complicated and messed up in countless ways.

But I’m thankful that I had the chance, even if for a moment, to see it as simple.

How do you see people?

 
 
  • Heidi

    What a beautiful reminder, Tracy. Thanks for sharing this and letting us catch a glimpse of what is possible when we truly see people for who they are.

    • Tracy

      Can you imagine the possibilities if we all saw each other this way? The world would be a very different place.

  • “…excited to play together because they were together. Simple as that.” I love this line. It’s a great reminder that we’re all just trying to make it and that we have the power to make it better for others if we’ll just take the time to reach out.

    • Tracy

      So true, Andrea. We are all just trying to make it. And the better we love people, the better off the world will be. Thanks for your comment!

  • An excellent story! There is such a wholesomeness in how children, especially young children, treat each other. Too many times they learn the wrong lessons from adults in their lives and the result is they hurt others too readily.

    • Tracy

      Great to see you over here at Time with Tracy, Thad! You’re right, as adults we set bad examples for kids all the time. Sometimes unintentionally. At some point we “learn” to notice these things that shouldn’t matter. I also think that we are all hurtful and selfish by nature. That’s why the interaction between these children was so beautiful to me. It was a rare glimpse of how things were intended to be before we messed it up.

  • I tend to see people as categories (moms, singles, rich, poor, etc.) than as the precious unique individuals that they are. And that’s just one of the reasons why our world is so broken – we don’t take the time to truly see the wonderful-ness of those around us. 🙂 Love this post!

    • Tracy

      Thank you! That is such a great point about categories, Rachel. I have been guilty of this, too. It’s easy to put people in a box and leave them there in our minds. I’m trying not to do that anymore.