Sometimes being able to lend a helping hand is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
This is exactly what happened to my friend I a few days ago. After sharing a chat and catching up on each other’s latest news we headed out to our local shops. At this point I will mention that we live in Cairo, Egypt where life has been a little unsettled of late and street walks have been avoided for obvious reasons. However in our local area life at this time had become quite calm, and in fact it except for being a little less crowded on the streets was virtually as we’d previously known it!
As we made our way out onto the streets we noticed a little boy standing alone looking somewhat tentative at the entrance of a pathway we were about to enter. Other children were playing nearby but he stood alone. It appeared he had somewhere to go, but wasn’t! Maybe he was waiting for someone to join him, I thought? But no, that was not the case. As I walked directly next to him he immediately began walking in step with me; and he walked so close to me that we were almost touching!
Right away both my friend and I realized that the little boy who was about eight or nine years old was afraid, and just wanted someone to walk beside him to make him feel safe. Initially he didn’t say a word as we walked, so I smiled at him and asked him how he was, and he said fine. I wanted him to know that it was quite OK that he was with us.
It wasn’t long before we turned a corner – one obviously he didn’t need to turn to get to where he was going. He stopped, and again was afraid, so he hastily changed direction and walked toward my friend and me. My friend whose Arabic is much better than mine began a conversation with the young boy. We both knew he was afraid to walk alone, but was even more afraid to ask us to walk him where he was going. It took very little effort on my friend’s part to convince the young boy to agree to the suggestion that we walk with him to where he needed to be before we continued on with our errands.
His little face lit up with a smile as bright as the sun as soon as this plan was agreed upon. As we turned to make our way in the direction he wished to go he eagerly held my friend, Rahsa’s hand until he reached his a destination. Greatly relieved that he had arrived safely he eagerly ran up the stairs of the building he was about to enter.
Being able to help this little boy, whose name we didn’t ask, was the hi-light of our day – we had so clearly been in exactly the right place at the right time on that day.
Of course we are all always exactly in the right place at the right time, but it is not always as clearly evident as it was on this helping hand day!
In closing I would like to add in regard to the young boy’s fear that he could only have been so afraid because of fear based warnings echoed to him from an adult; yet sadly no adult was with him to safely walk him to his nearby destination. I agree it is wise to caution a child to take care at all times, but never to feed them so much fear that it paralyzes them into stationary stillness. It is our jobs as adults to guide and protect children. If we are aware of danger is lurking on our streets – which it wasn’t that day – we have two choices to offer children; one is not to allow them to go outdoors until the danger has passed, and the other is to walk beside them, or assign another trusted adult to do so, as their protector in order to keep them safe!
I believe that at no time should any adult ever fill a child’s mind to overflowing with fear, of any kind, to the extent that it virtually paralyzes them and then send them out alone, without any rational guidance to deal with their newly implanted fear! Heaven knows the world has an abundance of adults afraid to face their own fear – why on earth would any adult want to pass that type of restricted lifestyle onto a child!
It truly is time to stop over-feeding crippling adult fears to young fearless warrior children who by their very nature trust that they have the ability to both capably survive and achieve whatever their heart desires in life.
The greatest thing any of us have to fear in life is fear itself, for once we allow fear take hold of us, we, like the little boy on the street become its paralyzed prisoner and are incapable of moving forward toward either any desired life destination or our God choreographed life purpose destination.