Monday, May 5, 2014

From The Heart: Thailand

In very roughly translated paraphrasing from ‘The Art Whisperer’,  “Everything you do needs to come from the heart.

The past few days we were involved in a Creative Arts Camp with the children at the home. It was an interesting mix of fun and games, intense meditation leading into spurts of heartfelt art forms and even creating musical instruments! Live Different sponsored the camp and, as part of our contribution, we helped the kids with sketchbooks, which were used to express themselves and share their stories.

One little boy I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with these past few days is the most affectionate and enjoys the simple things—just a cuddle, holding onto your arm and sitting together. One of our amazing translators, Pim, was sitting with this little boy as we the children were working on their sketchbooks. I asked her to translate and share with me about what he had created and considered note worthy enough to save in his sketchbook….

Working on his sketchbook. 
We had the kids write down a few specific things in their books—since the book was intended to be all about them we wanted them to share their name and age, some of their happiest memories or stories, and to write and draw pictures of what they want to be when they grow up. On top of these few specifics, they could put anything they desired into the sketchbook. This special little guy is 10 years old but hasn’t attended school, which means he doesn’t know how to read or write yet. Pim was asking him questions and while he was responding, she would write down his answers. Some of his happiest memories are of fishing, shooting birds, and hanging out with friends. His dream of what he wants to be when he grows up—he wants to build houses.

It’s interesting to think of what the future will hold for this little boy. At 10 he hasn’t yet been to school, but still dreams so big. At the home, the children are instilled with such value, such immense worth in who they are, and that no dream is unattainable to them. Their peers encourage them, the staff does as well, and no one they spend time with looks down on them for their current skill set or current amount of education. Each child has the world in the palm of their hands and knows that they can be anything they want to be. I think about back in Canada and the amount of anti-bullying campaigns that exist. To know peers are picking on each other, devaluing one another, treating each other like garbage, is mind-boggling. No wonder there are people out there who have no drive to succeed—they have been told their entire lives they can’t. At the home with Kru Nam, the kids are being told they can from the moment they come into the home. They are being encouraged by those around them, lifted up instead of kicked down, and they are thriving. They are succeeding, they are dreaming.

Oil pastels and pencil crayons make for lovely sketchbooks.
Everyone defines success differently. When I look at the children and the work Kru Nam and her staff are doing, I think we can easily define success as doing the right thing in every situation and doing those right things, not with a feeling of ‘Ugh, I HAVE to do this’ or resentment, but doing these things with a sense of love and compassion for those around them.  When everything is done from the heart, you are bound to succeed because your success comes from the joy of seeing those around you succeed. When you help others reach their dreams and goals, you are being lifted up and positioned to reach yours as well. Just image, he wants to build houses. Perhaps his dream is just one piece of the puzzle connecting him with the other children in the home to also live out their dreams.

While this message of living life from the heart may be difficult for some to grasp, the children in the home understand it more than anyone else and are a shining example in all they do to the truth of the sentiment. Living life with your heart in the lead means you will succeed, because a life lived out of love cannot fail.

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