by Nikki Myers
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak about leadership. Each sentence was a sound bite of humility, leadership, love and challenge. Beyond being an absolute inspiration and so full of wisdom, he has the sweetest, most contagious laugh you can imagine (no really, look it up ☺). I couldn’t take notes fast enough. He spoke on the idea of living a life that is beyond you. A life where you live at your best so that others can as well. His idea was this: a person is a person through other persons. You are you because of others. We copy the best attributes of others to be the best version of ourselves.
This isn’t a totally new idea, but for some reason when put this simply it felt different to me and it has made me think about my own life. I think about the people that helped develop who I am today—my passions, my interests, my spirit. They were people that I admired and watched, liking who they were as people and attempting to copy those attributes for myself.
Part of who I am today is because of people across the world from me. Children that I have shared a game of soccer with, blown bubbles and sang songs with. Children who had an inexplicable joy that I wanted to replicate. Children who knew nothing of greed, road rage, and accumulation. But they did know a lot about hunger, about sacrifice, about caring for others. They knew about the faithfulness of the Lord and the value of hard work. These children, who I will likely never see again, helped shape/form/create me. I am me, because of them.
I am going to venture to say that whatever level of investment you have a world away, has shaped you as well. The plight of others helps us be more generous, more aware, passionate about injustice, and obedient followers of Christ as we care for the poor and oppressed. I was at a World Vision 30 Hour Famine event last weekend and through those 30 hours with the students I saw the best in them come out. As they thought about these children and heard their stories, they realized that these children were also created in the image of God and their hearts were broken.
They grew in compassion, in grace, in the drive to do more. You are you because of others. As you move on to summer activities and begin planning for the start of a new school year, I encourage you to reflect on ways you can teach your children and students about the world around them, and let it help shape them in the best possible way. World Vision has a variety of resources for children’s ministry and student ministry that we would love to be able to share with you. Because just as you are you because of others . . . others are themselves because of you.