As I watched through my front window, I marveled as butterflies seemed to play among themselves, flitting from one flower to the next in our front yard. I thought what beauty they bring to our hearts, for few people do not find joy in the beautiful butterflies in all of their colorful majesty.
Reading the sad news of children being neglected or killed by the people meant to be watching over them made me think of how sad it is when a caterpillar is not allowed the freedom and habitat to become a beautiful butterfly. What a shame when a butterfly, for whatever reasons, has its wings clipped before they can expand and get dry, resulting in the inability to fly away and enjoy the life it was created to have.
When adults fail to provide children the right setting for them to prosper and grow, it makes it harder for children to grow into beautiful human beings, individuals able to navigate through life in emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy ways. I know that some parents need the help of the community, for do not have the money to get their children everything they need or are suffering from their own emotional hell holes of addiction and mental illness.
Too many people consider the plight of a family as a private matter. But the children of this world belong to us all, and if one child fails to blossom, we all suffer the loss.
When I visit schools, I loathe to see the child that has on unwashed and unpressed clothes, or the child that other children shun because they have an odor. I want to take that outcast and hold them in my arms, no matter how bad they may smell. I know how much they need just a hug from a caring adult. Just one word or gesture can be the difference between a child remaining a caterpillar, never metamorphosing into the beauty that is hidden inside of them, or becoming a full-fledged wonder of nature.
I wrote that I was one of those children, so smelly from wearing urine-stained dresses to school that the teacher placed my desk next to hers and opened the windows, even in the coldest weather. But, I was blessed that God placed a wonderful teacher in my path, Mrs. Ora Mae Bell, and she combed my hair every day before I went into our classroom. She smelled so good as she held me close to her, and I dreamed of what it would be like to be her child, to have her parents as my ancestors.
I was age 9, and I had not been taught to bathe or how to wash clothes. It was her combing my hair each day that made me want to be the smartest person in the class. This woman never let me see her flinch from the odors that surrounded me. Because I never forgot that she saw something valuable in me, I was able to finally one day expand my wings, let them dry, and become what God created me to be: a child of God spreading His joy and love.
It is so important that every child has the ability to soar as a butterfly, to have access to an environment in which they are loved, cared for, disciplined, and learn the basics of personal hygiene. We cannot simply say that we do not want to interfere with parents’ rights.
Also, instead of taking children away from poor parents, let us work as a community to help that mother, or that father, or both, to learn how to help their children become beauties that flit from flower to flower, gaining the necessary physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment to become the most beautiful of butterflies. We all miss out when we simply turn away and say that it’s not our business. Psalm 127: 3 states, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Let’s help each child be what God created them to be: butterflies all.