One of the great gifts of this trip has been the accompaniment of eight wonderful interpreters who stay right by our sides almost all the time. They are, without exception, gentle, joyful, gifted people who are a joy to be around. They are invaluable for our communication with the children. They are very intelligent and precise, but occasionally, there is a something that gets “lost in translation.”
Today (Wednesday), during our class on the 7 Wonders of the World that we are teaching in the school, was one such time. Tom was teaching, and I was a little bit late entering the class, so they had already begun when I walked in. We usually began each class with an introduction—saying your name and your favorite food. But when I walked into this class, the children were going around saying “My name is _______, and I like TOM because he is funny, happy, etc.”!!! After this went on for a few minutes, I had to ask how he started this little Tom pep rally! J
Tom had asked them “Say your name and something I like about me (meaning something they like about themselves)”. But it had been translated “say something you like about Tom,” which they did. And everything they said was true.
Though the exercise didn’t go down as planned, as I think about it, it occurs to me that one of the very important aspects of our visit here is to give these children adults who can role model healthy self esteem. So much of the brokenness of our world is connected to our inability to recognize the image of God in ourselves. That image becomes marred by our guilt, our hurts and disappointments, our insecurities… As we witness this in these children, we feel the call to reflect the image of God in them. So I’m grateful that they could recognize the image of God in Tom and experience his joy and humble confidence. The ironic thing about reflecting the image of God to others is that that very process helps us to recognize the image of God in ourselves, and to experience God’s love, even as we share it.
My name is Christi, and what I like about Tom (and the children, the staff, the interpreters, the team, myself) is the image of God within.