September 2016 Column Winner

Seeing the world through a child's eyes
Jeff Mullin, Enid News & Eagle

The photo, and the boy’s story, grabbed the world’s attention not long ago.
The photo was of 5-yearold Omran Daqneesh, sitting in the back of an ambulance following a bombing raid on his family’s home in Aleppo, Syria.
The empty, hopeless, lost expression on the boy’s dirty, blood-streaked face tugged at hearts across the globe. He became the face of the unspeakable suffering in that war-torn nation.
That photo also sparked one young American to action. His name is Alex. He is 6 years old and lives in Scarsdale, N.Y.
After seeing Omran’s photo, Alex took up his pencil and wrote a note to President Obama.
“Dear President Obama, Remember the boy who was picked up in the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to our home?
“Park in the driveway or on the street and we will be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers and balloons.
“We will give him a family and he will be our brother. Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him.
“In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar. I will introduce him to Omar, and we can all play together. We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach us another language. Since he won’t bring toys and doesn’t have toys, Catherine will share her big blue stripy white bunny and I will share my bike and I will teach him how to ride it. I will teach him addition and subtraction.”
And he signed it “Alex, 6 years old.”
Well, Alex, 6 years old, you obviously don’t understand the ways of the world. You will learn as you get older, that the world is a hard, cruel, unforgiving place, a world where people don’t embrace those of other races, creeds, nationalities or faiths, but instead fear them.
Rest assured, your childish idealism and innate goodness will fall away as the years go on.
Actually, Omran has a family, a mom, a dad and three siblings, so they would have to come with him if he came to live with you. And we don’t want them to come here, to escape the terror and violence that is a part of their daily lives, because they might be terrorists, for crying out loud.
We want to build walls to keep out people who don’t look, think, worship and act like us — not only the physical kind, but the economic and political kind, too.
You are worried about this boy, that is clear, but you simply don’t understand. This is an unkind word, where everyone is out for themselves. You can’t trust anybody these days, everyone has their own self-interest at heart and is willing to step on anybody they must to ensure their own happiness.
You are a mere child, and as such look at the world through a child’s eyes, filtered through a child’s blind faith in and love for everyone.
Your friend, Omar? To you he’s just another kid in your class, but he’s not. He’s not like you. Steer clear of him.
Don’t trust him and, whatever you do, don’t be his friend.
Kindness will get you nowhere, generosity will only cause you pain. Harden your heart before the world shatters it into tiny pieces and sweeps the fragments into the gutter.
What kind of world do you think it would be if everyone had your attitude? What kind of world would we have if kindness, generosity and genuine love and care for our fellow man prevailed?
Who would we fight if we cared for everyone? Who would we hate if we loved everybody?
What kind of a world would it be if the innate goodness of a child could spread across the planet, touching every living soul and transforming humanity?
What kind of a world?

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