A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about my daughter, Nee, and Taylor Swift. Nee, who was 12 years old at the time, was a huge Taylor Swift fan. In the post, I talked about how Taylor Swift’s music helped me to better understand my daughter and form a deeper bond with her.
Nee is 14-years old now and Taylor Swift continues to keep us connected (she and I had a listening party on the day, 1989 was released). But our relationship goes beyond our mutual love for music. As my daughter gets older, I want her to understand that she has the power to impact the world by investing in future generations.
My daughter is smart, confident, and incredibly focused. She likes to draw, hang out with her friends, watch her favorite YouTubers, and of course listen to music. Her greatest joy, however, is caring for toddlers. She is one of the teenage helpers in our church’s preschool. Each Sunday, she spends an hour playing with, talking to, and caring for a group of 2 and 3 year olds.
“Knowing that I will see my kids on Sunday morning is the thing that helps me get through difficult weeks,” she told me.
When she talks about “her babies,” a huge smile appears and her otherwise measured demeanor becomes animated and vibrant. Seeing her display compassion, love, and service makes me proud because it shatters the stereotype of teenagers’ being self-absorbed.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”- Anne Frank
One day, we were talking about a funny incident with “her babies” and the conversation shifted to how kids in other countries live. Nee is very curious about other cultures and is eager to travel around the world. I’ve visited several countries and I often share stories about my travels. Nee was particularly interested in my observations about life in Southeast Asia because one of her friends had recently moved there.
I shared many positive stories about the great people that I met, the beautiful sights that I saw, and the delicious food that I ate. To give her a full picture of my experiences, I also told Nee about the heartbreaking conditions that I witnessed.
I saw several kids on streets, some who were the same age as the toddlers she cares for, who were sick and begging for money.
“That’s terrible,” she said with a look of horror on her face. “Why don’t they just go to the hospital?”
“It’s not that simple,” I said.
Nee was surprised to learn about the disparities in health care that exist in the world. She was even more upset when I let her know that many of these kids suffered from diseases that could have been prevented with a simple vaccine.
“Wow!” she exclaimed. “I guess I won’t complain when I have to get my shots from now on.”
We continued our discussion and I shared some of the work I’ve done with the United Nations Foundation to help spread the world about immunizations and provide vaccines to kids who need them most. She was happy to learn that someone was doing something to address the problem. But more importantly, she has renewed her passion to serve children and is committed to doing her part to making children’s lives better. Each Sunday she displays that commitment by hugging “her babies” just a little bit tighter. In a few weeks, her passport will arrive and she’s ready to share that love with children around the globe.
During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000).