I met Emily at a birthday party over the weekend. Emily is six or seven. The party was for her grandfather. What struck me about Emily was, frankly, everything.
Emily was fluffed into a lacey dress. Her well-tended hair framed a near constant smile. You could tell that Emily liked talking to adults.
Early in the party, someone gave Emily a dollar bill.
That started something.
Pretty soon, everyone at the party who had a dollar bill gave one to Emily when they bumped into her. I stopped to visit with Emily at one point and asked, “So, why is everyone giving you money?”
She brightened noticeably, flung her hands out wide, and said, “I don’t know! I just walk around…and people give me money!”
After that, I sat and listened as Emily talked to a couple of nearby women. Emily was quite well-spoken and used her words handsomely. I later had a chance to visit with Emily’s mother. “Did you read to Emily a lot when she was a small girl?” I asked.
“Oh, yes.” He mother responded. “Emily loves books. She loves stories.”
“I thought so,” I said. “You can tell just by listening to her that you read to her. She is sharp. I am impressed.”
Later, when I came back home and considered the party, I realized that what I saw at the party was a young girl whose life is quite neatly organized in front of her. She has a loving and caring family. Concerned grandparents. A stable home life. Emily is surrounded by people who love her, by people who care.
I have seen other children. Haunted children. Filthy children shoved from the doors of broken homes. Children whose parents scream down on them. Children who don’t talk.
Emily is not one of those.
If you chance to see Emily, give her a dollar. She is going places and she is a good investment in our future.