It is not easy for any child to transition to a new school and make new friends. It was especially difficult for Rafael, a boy who spoke only Spanish in an English-speaking school in California, USA. The 10-year-old boy often found himself sitting alone at lunch –until Amanda came along and broke the language barrier.
Amanda noticed how lonely Rafael seemed and decided to keep him company. When she tried to introduce herself, she realized the boy did not speak her language. Instead of giving up and walking away, Amanda turned to Google Translate. Using the App, she crafted a note written completely in Spanish. The next day, Amanda handed Rafael the note, which invited him to sit with her at lunch. She offered to help him understand the routines of their grade.
A week later, Amanda discovered that Rafael was not only her classmate, but also her neighbor. He joined her family in celebrating an annual holiday. Amanda and Rafael now mainly communicate through drawings, but they are working hard to learn each other’s languages.
Where did Amanda’s habit of welcoming others who are different from her originate?–at home. Amanda’s mother encouraged her with these words: “I always told her to find the new kid. They may not stay your friend, but they will not forget that you made them welcome in that school.”
What about us? As parents, are we encouraging our children to notice and reach out to boys and girls who look and sound different? Are we modeling the love of Jesus through the way we treat those of other backgrounds, cultures, and religions? Are we giving our own Amanda’s and Rafael’s the opportunity to learn that just because someone speaks a different language from you, does not mean he cannot be your friend?
Source: CBS News Nov. 1, 2016