In 2013, it was easy to name a hero when there were so few that stood out amid the persistent tales of greed and global economic chaos. Mine? First, a child that is world renown for her courageous persistence in standing up for her beliefs, after suffering personal injury and with continued threats to herself and her family. Malala is a profile in courage because she continues to take action, stepping out in front to be the change in the world and encouraging others to do the same. My second hero is a name familiar only to a few in a small part of Texas. This child’s name is Jack. Despite life-threatening circumstances like Malala, Jack displays tremendous courage and resiliency, undergoing experimental surgery and participating in exhausting therapeutic techniques on a regular basis. He reminds us that everyday is a gift to be opened, if only we seek the treasures that are offered in the opportunities that surround us. At six years of age and living with the paralyzing condition of Cerebral Palsy, Jack encourages us with his perpetual smile, his pure spirit, and his insightful words of wisdom that belie his age and experience. See what I mean:
“God sent me here to love people. I am not perfect, but I try to love everyone.”
“I am here to tell people about God.”
“God has a weapon, it is the Bible. I have a Bible which means I have a weapon. Told you kids could have weapons, Mom!”
“Jesus is near. He was dancing with me in my dreams.”
Malala and Jack show us the power in living and leading with purpose. These children remind us to never take anything for granted in our lives, whether it’s the opportunity to learn or the opportunity to wiggle our toes. There is a beautiful irony in that our children often have heroes, but our heroes are often not children.