Children are worth the risk

Published 6:41 pm Friday, March 25, 2022

By Nathan Rice

I was looking through old pictures when I stumbled across one of myself from years ago with a small group of kids to my right and left. Every kid in the photo was now grown, but I could still tell you their names.

My mind carried me down memory lane, and I reminisced about the children I had worked with over the years. I thought about the lessons I had tried to instill and the hope that the effort I put forth would play a part in helping them break free of some difficult situations.

Unfortunately, the children I have worked with were unable to overcome difficult situations. Some tried to do better but could not overcome problems in their lives. Others rejected my advice and went their own way. My heart ached as I looked at the picture, and I asked myself a question that I am sure many of us have asked when our efforts to help others fell short. “Would I do it again?”

My initial answer was a no. It wouldn’t make sense to put so much time, effort, money and love into something that would not make a difference. I thought, “If I could go back, it would be foolish to do it again.” Then I paused, gave it some more thought, and changed my answer to yes. Yes, I would do it again.

I would do it again because every child deserves someone willing to invest in them regardless of the outcome. They need adults who will do their best to show them that there is a better way of life than the dysfunction they see at home and in the neighborhoods around them. They deserve a chance. They deserve a choice. They may have chosen to discount my advice, but I take comfort in knowing they heard and had an opportunity.

I would do it again because I have peace from knowing that I did my best. Many people complain and say nothing will change, but only a few try to make a difference. I have peace knowing that I tried. My efforts may have fallen short, but I hold my head high, knowing that I tried my best.

The next time you ask yourself, “Should I even bother,” know that the answer is yes. Yes, you should try to make a difference. I cannot guarantee a positive outcome, but I can tell you that we must not stop trying.

Children deserve someone willing to risk their time, effort, talents, and money to help. We cannot stop doing good things because previous results may not have been what we had hoped. We can adjust our strategies, but we cannot stop our attempts to make a difference. When we give what we can and do our best to help, we can have peace knowing that we tried. We cannot control other people’s choices. We cannot control their reactions. We cannot control the results, but we can control our efforts. Let’s never stop trying to help.

 

Nathan Rice, a Hampton Roads resident since 1988, is a branch operations manager at ABNB Federal Credit Union. He has volunteered with children and youth in various roles for 15 years. He is interim pastor at Portsmouth Nazarene Church. His email address is nrice@abnb.org.