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6      CHILDART      THE MORAL OF YOUR STORY                                                           APR-JUN 2021      7



                                        A PLACE  FOR ALL

                                                    AMY ENKE

                                              MANAGING EDITOR

            When I was a child, my parents proposed that our family   might involve growing pains, but it’s possible. It usually
            celebrate the Christmas holiday by doing good deeds.   doesn’t cost money or require unobtainable skills. It might
            Each child would think of one thing we could do to spread   require courage. Growing deeds are good. Perhaps they
            cheer and we would participate together in these acts of   don’t have the impact on another’s life that good deeds
            kindness. I instantly knew what I wanted to do.     do, but they open windows of understanding that can
                                                                lead us to finding and living a better way. Growing deeds
            I wanted to deliver holiday treats to Veronica, a very shy   involve missed opportunity, but improved future opportunity.
            girl who rode my school bus home from junior high school
            each day. She was a small person with long black hair.     Morality can be defined as what a society sanctions as
            I didn’t know Veronica and she didn’t know me. I rarely   right or wrong behavior. It asks that we treat each other
            talked to anyone on the long bus ride home. Our family   fairly, with a concern for the welfare of others. It’s about
            lived in a large home on a farm on the edge of town.  I   avoiding and preventing harm, and it’s what allows us to
            really didn’t like riding the school bus. The “cool” kids   live cooperatively in communities. Some morals transcend
            didn’t ride the bus. Each afternoon, the bus stopped to   place and time. Some are universal. These might include
            let Veronica off. She lived in a school bus parked on a   being fair, respecting others’ property, lending a hand,
            small lot overgrown with vines and weeds. Every day I   or being brave.
            felt sad for her. Kids on the bus made fun of her. Just
            like Veronica, I was also shy. But I wish I had spoken to   In this issue of ChildArt magazine, we explore the question
            Veronica. I wish I had asked her to sit with me.    “What is morality?” Guest contributors have offered insight
                                                                into finding answers. They share the stories of spilled
            On the night of my Christmas good deed, our family drove   ink, a coach’s reprimand, and tragic loss, along with
            to Veronica’s school-bus home. My family waited in the   stories of happiness and harmony, success rising from
            car while I hopped out, heart pounding, and hurried to the   adversity, a wise Nigerian proverb, and how to work your
            door with a plate of treats. I placed the plate on the top   way through a difficult decision. Acting with moral integrity
            step, knocked on the door of the bus, and hurried back   transcends the emotion of the moment—and that takes
            to the car. It was a dark, cold night. I remember feeling   practice. By expanding our understanding of what kinds
            hesitant to knock on the bus door because the glass was   of choices create a healthy life and a healthy planet for
            broken. What if my knocking made the glass shatter? I   all, we become better at living a moral life.
            remember feeling nervous and shy. I wish I had had the
            courage to wait at the door of that bus and introduce   This magazine is filled with art from children around the
            myself to Veronica, to say Merry Christmas and invite her   world. We think you will agree that the art radiates the
                                                                joyful creative spirit that contributes to building a blissful future.
 Not all of us can do great things.   to sit with me on the bus ride home from school.  As the pandemic has engulfed the world, we have heard
            That night, I did a deed. I’m not sure it can be called a
 But we can do small things with   good deed. I think it might be better called a growing   the call again and again that we must practice “social
                                                                distancing.” Yet, in a world calling out also for unity,
            deed. I hope that when Veronica saw the treats she felt
                                                                empathy, and healing, we might do better to combine
 great love.  that someone liked her, or cared, or wanted her to feel   physical distancing with social connectedness. We invite
            happiness. I will never know. What I have learned, in the
            ensuing years, is that often, the best moral choice is within   you to explore, through ChildArt, ways to participate in
            our capability. It might not be the comfortable choice, it   creating a place for all.
 Mother Teresa

 ARTWORK NICOLA ROOS AGE11 SOUTH AFRICA                                                          
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