S and E


Their hearts, though young, are hearts for the world.

I don’t expect people to know where Burma is. But it’s always fun to teach people if they’re interested.

E and S don’t need any teaching. They have been, they are being, raised to notice the world and to love people, both near and far.

Last Saturday I was telling their parents about my work in Burma. It was nothing new to them, as they have friends in Southeast Asia. Indeed, it was their stories throughout my college years that made me want to move to Southeast Asia.

S walked into our conversation after coming home from watching the game at a neighbors. He asked me what I was doing in Burma, then queried “don’t some people call Burma something else? Something with an M…?” I explained to him a little about the Burma – Myanmar debate. He told me about a book he’d read about Mahoots in Burma and the Japanese invasion during WWII. S is 13 years old. He knows more about Burma than most adults. He could probably find Burma on a map at half the age I even knew Burma existed.

E came home from babysitting. She’s grown up since I saw her last. She drives now. She is beautiful. Her first question was “Now, doesn’t Burma go by another name too?” Impressed, I reiterated the explanation I’d given her brother. Then I said, “tell me all about your life. What’s going on?” E flatly responded, “no, tell me about Burma. With pictures.” She wants to visit Southeast Asia sometime. Her mom says a few more years.

This story is not to shame American adults into paying more attention to Burma. Not at all. It is to highlight two remarkable young people. Remarkable not because they know the news and history of my area of the world, but remarkable because they have the hearts and spirits to look beyond their friends, sports teams, and school (although all of those are important and I wouldn’t want them neglected) to also see and care for the people of the world.

I’m honored to watch them grow in this virtue, and inspired to keep cultivating it in myself.

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