There's a wonderful English expression, "the world is her oyster" , which means that you are free and confident and adventurous enough to open up that which the world offers, and to find the pearls awaiting you.
I first just wanted to show you some pictures I took today of a couple of the beautiful children of our students at the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Hong Kong.
This little girl, for example, who is totally loved by her parents, and there's her brother, absorbed in learning new things about the world around him and the Slinky (made in the USA and sold in China :) which really does still walk down steps just the way it used to when I was a kid.
The third photo is of our newest father-to-be, whose first child is expected in the next few weeks. We are teaching him the culinary secrets of Wisconsin brats (also made in the USA and sold in grocery stores here in Hong Kong :)
But I also need to tell you about some of the children in my classes at the Primary School this week. It was a tough day. Teachers were obviously stressed. The first grade class with a high number of special needs kids was especially demanding. I saw a couple of sharp pencils go flying through the air. The songs I had chosen for them seemed too wild, and they danced around, rather than singing with the song. (I am not a trained special ed teacher. Make that, I am not a trained teacher, period!) One boy, a 4th grader, was sobbing uncontrollably in the hallway. Several of the 6th graders, who have reportedly gone through 6 years of daily English lessons, did not seem capable of answering the most basic English questions during our small group time.
What breaks my heart is that there are a number of obviously bright children, eager and willing to learn... but how will they? Children of wealthier families are attending English & Mandarin-speaking schools, hiring private tutors, and going to music and science camps.
Meanwhile, I suspect, but I do not know, that some of the most difficult children in the Primary School do not have regular medical care, they do not have loving fathers in their home, they do not have the kind of support and care that tells them they can grow up and do anything, become anything. The world is not their oyster.
As Christians, how do we live the breaking in of a new power, which says that all children are precious, and the pearl of great price is not auctioned off for the smartest, richest, savviest bidder, but something hidden and secret, and yet available to us when we look for it, track it down, pry it open, claim it. For all God's children, not just the wealthy and "advantaged" ones.
What do you think? How do you make a difference in educational opportunities for children where you live?
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls..."--- Jesus, quoted in Matthew 13:45