The other day I was cleaning out some bins in my crowded garage.  After opening a large one with words written on it “Gwen’s Memories”, I discovered an old doll house that I use to play with.  When I opened it up, I found one of my favorite barbie dolls that I used to play with.  A lot of memories came alive.

Playing with barbie dolls used to be a favorite pass time for me.   Between my sister and me we had several dolls and accessories including the Ken barbie.  Having a male doll completed the collection because now we could have conversations between a guy and a gal and have pretend dates, invent weddings, and have imaginary families.  I don’t remember how, but we ended up with a play motor home and I was ecstatic because now the barbies could go camping.  Playing with these dolls gave me lots of opportunities to dream about how my life would be when I grow up.  But as I got older, I found other interests and the barbie dolls became a memory and they all got packed away.

I had dreams when I was young.  At one point I wanted to be a comedian.  I even made up a joke about a girdle, but it wasn’t very funny.  I dreamed about getting married and having kids.  I dreamed about making a difference in this world, you know, leaving a footprint.

I was fortunate to have a good family life when I was growing up.  I used to take it for granted until I started hearing some of the awful stories my friends would tell me about when they were children.  At first I was shocked that any child would have it bad, I honestly thought all children had good lives.  Now I know how blessed I was.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!!

All boys and girls should have great memories of their childhood and get to dream about what they want to be when they become adults, but we all know the reality of this world that we live in.  Adverse childhood experiences aren’t a rarity.  I could go on and talk about the injustice and the pain kids go through, but I would rather hear about the success stories these children can have.

There are a ton of stories of how people have endured tragedies in their childhood whether it was losing a parent through death or divorce.  Maybe they lost a sibling through a horrific circumstance.  Some children may have been taken advantage of by being abused, molested, or raped.  It could be that a child was kidnapped and thrust into the depth of human trafficking.  These are awful incidents that no one deserves to experience but sadly enough many are going through this stuff now.  This is just a few examples but there are so many other situations that children go through.

Even in the bible there are stories of tragedies that affected children like Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers.  How about Isaac when his father, Abraham, placed him on the alter and was about to kill him with a dagger to be a sacrifice?  I think about Lot escaping Sodom with his family, then his wife turning around to look at the city and becoming a pillar of salt.  What a way to lose your mom.

These types of unforeseeable circumstances can rob a young one of their childhood.  This is why I love hearing about how people have risen above the tragedies they endured when they were young.  Thankfully, our circumstances do not define who we are.  We can still dream knowing that no one can take that away from us.

There are many people who have shared their testimony about how they rose above their childhood tragedies to become a successful person.  Just do a search on the internet.  It amazes me when I read each of these stories.

I hear of many stories about children being taken advantage of and I think each one of us has an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life, today.  Bad situations swirl around the young and vulnerable, why not give them a chance to just be a kid who can dream and succeed.

You may have experienced a tragedy in your childhood, why not use that experience to help another child to get past their nasty situation.  Give them encouragement so they can find courage to move forward in their life.  Give them your time so they feel needed.  Give them hope so they can dream.

There are many ways that can offer you opportunities to help a child such as supporting your local youth programs by funding them with a donation or even participating as a mentor.  Join and support a cause that helps children, there are many to choose from, so select one that leans heavy on your heart.  Be sensitive to parents who are struggling and need a little help.  Sometimes families can hide their problems well.

I am thankful for the folks who open up their homes and hearts to be foster parents.  This is not an easy task, adding a child to your family takes guts, patients, and lots of love.  May God bless these families beyond their wildest imagination!

Children are dear to my heart, not because I have a child, stepchild, god children and grandchildren, but because God called all of us to protect the weak and the vulnerable.  The children are our future and we need to treasure and nurture them.

I challenge you.  Whether it’s your time, money or prayers, when an opportunity presents itself to you to help a kid in some way, know that you will make a difference in their life no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.  This is your chance to give hope and love to a child.  How awesome would it be to see them grow up and fulfill their dreams.  Now that’s a reward I want to see!

Let’s keep hope alive in our children so they can dream.


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