“We’re the kids of the future, and the future is now,” the Jonas Brothers sang in Disney’s 2007 blockbuster Meet the Robinsons.
When I was a middle-schooler I didn’t think too much about the future. I hoped it would be as futuristic as the Jetsons, but at that time, I didn’t consider too much more than myself and my problems.
Unfortunately, for the kids of 2020, it looks like instead of robots, they are being trained to wear masks, think along the lines of what the media feeds us, and be armed with hand sanitizer. Children and students are staying home, losing touch with their classmates, and feeling trapped in their new living situations. But instead of focusing on their problems, many are embracing kindness while loving the hurting.
While the mainstream media chooses to focus on the bad and dramatized stats of the coronavirus, there are so many young unsung heroes that deserve to be recognized. Below, you'll find five who encouraged me the most.
In Pennsylvania, 15-year-old, Hita Gupta, chose to start bringing light into the homes of nursing home residences. Due to COVID-19, many of these residents haven’t been able to receive visitors. Hita began “Brighten a day,” with a prerogative to mail residents ways to pass the time in isolation. Her typical packing process includes a puzzle book, a coloring book, coloring utensils, and a handwritten note from her and her brother. So far, Hita has reached 16 nursing homes.
When it comes to interceding on others’ behalf, prayer is the answer. In Sacramento, CA, two young friends, Makiah and Zaliah, are passionate about prayer. While remaining in compliance with social distancing, the two girls found a new way to share and receive prayer requests safely. They set up a table on their driveway. On this table, there is a container holding sharpies, index cards individually sealed in baggies, and a box where the written prayer request are placed. They made sure to catch eyes with a sign that said: “How can we pray for you?” Thanks to these young servants, the prayer ministry is making a difference in the lives of many.
Turning 12 is a big deal in any young boy’s life. But for Dominic Mercado, he couldn’t celebrate while so many Americans are in need. Instead of asking for superheroes and video games, this brave young soul stepped up and asked for food for his local food pantry. He claims that he was inspired to donate after he saw so many men and women being laid off and coming to the soup kitchen. Dominic’s gracious donation was the largest the kitchen has seen in years.
In Ashtabula, OH, children were itching to find a way to bring a smile to essential workers’ faces. “Kids for Positive Change” sought to make this a reality. The school kids in this area have made cards, signs, and written notes to help encourage these brave men and women. Safety requirements forbid them from handing them our personally, but director Camille Licate is taking pictures of the artwork and posting it online. Many fourth and fifth grade students such as Jayden Keller and Jaylin Streit have designed beautiful posters and cards encouraging these workers.
The constant media coverage of this wild topic is enough to bring any adult to their wit’s end. But has anyone thought about what it is doing to the minds of young children? In Minnesota, 7-year-old Brandon Brundige, who has autism, was overwhelmed by the news that was being reported on television. As it became apparent he was getting overstimulated, his 6-year-old sister, Cameron, stepped up to the plate to encourage her brother to choose faith over fear. She grabbed his hand and led him in repeating 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Their mother, Sheletta, was encouraged by the act as the entire family stopped what they were doing and shouted, “Amen!”
These are just a few of the amazing young boys and girls that choose to make a difference where they can. I know when I was this age, I would have never thought of using my time to benefit others. These kids are making a difference amid a pandemic; they are heroes.
Maybe the Jonas Brothers were right. These are the kids of the future. I don’t know about you, but I think they’re doing a mighty encouraging job at living in it. To all the mothers and fathers raising these kiddos…keep up the excellent work!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.