When a disaster like the Haiti earthquake happens, it’s sometimes difficult for me to see an upside. But today, I saw an example of the something beautiful amidst the chaos. In this case, it took the form of a smart and outspoken 6-year old humanitarian named Jonathon Kane.
Shortly after the Haiti earthquake, Jonathon was captivated by television news coverage of the earthquake. He felt compassion for children in Haiti, telling his mom “their eyes look very sad.” He wanted to do something and asked his mom Susan how he could help. She said money would be the best thing, so Jonathon emptied his piggy bank of all $6.37.
“We couldn’t get there on a plane to help, but what we could do is donate money,” Susan told me. And that’s exactly what they did. But along with Jonathon were hundreds of other children at Cedar Wood Elementary in Mill Creek, Washington, who also decided to reach out to help children in Haiti.
In total, they raised $3,641.
I met Jonathon this afternoon when he, his mom and big sisters Melissa and Kristen brought by a fistful of checks for World Concern’s Haiti relief. What’s clear to me is that this amount of money, along with matching government grants for the relief, will make a real and significant impact on the lives of hundreds of people who are facing a life-and-death crisis. Not bad for a child who had $6.37 to offer.
Jonathan tells me that he feels sorry for people in Haiti and he cares about them. “I hope this money goes to replace stuff to make new homes,” he tells me. Many children acted like Jonathon, donating their birthday money, their piggy banks, their life savings – with no regard. On the first day, they raised $700.
One of Jonathan’s sisters, Melissa, told me something that seems to be painfully true. She says that she found it more difficult to collect money from students who are older. “It’s interesting to see how much more willing little kids were to give whatever they had.”
This compassion reminds me of the kind of compassion Jesus has called us to when facing a need like this one, a need that clearly we have been called to address. He calls us to a faith that knows that we will be taken care of if we step out and give, not to receive anything in return, but give because it is simply the right thing to do.
When we grow older, I believe our vision becomes clouded by the world. Jonathon sees hurting eyes and does not look from them, but instead acts on his instinct – knowing that his decision was the right one to make.