Little children are just starting to figure out the world—what is safe, who to trust, how to eat and play and potty, why things are the way they are. Like little chicks, they are very vulnerable. Little children scare easily. They can get hurt too—badly hurt.
 
Remember what Jesus said: Let the little children come to me. He saw special virtue in children and even called us to be like them—like children in how we trust God with our whole heart. Do your best to be kind and helpful and encouraging to your little sisters and brothers (and not just your own sisters and brothers). A people will not be judged by sizing up the strong, the successful, the greatest among them. A people will be judged by looking at how gently held were the weak, the most vulnerable, the “least”. Hold gently the little children.
 
     -The Godmother
Child beggars in Cambodia: I saw this little girl by the riverside. She was begging for money from strangers. She was with some other children but very much alone in the world. "Should I give money to street children in Phnom Penh?" It is a tough question. You look at their hair and it is orange due to malnutrition (here 32% of little ones are too short and 10% underweight). And their clothes, seldom washed. Every empathetic nerve in your body trembles. But the literature says "No". You create dependency. Parents whose children generate money are not incentivized to send them to school but are motivated to make them appear more needy, more pathetic. The worst case scenario: the money goes to support a parent's addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. What to give? Food, certainly. I talk to them too--"How old are you? How many brothers and sisters do you have?" I clown around and make them laugh. I make a stone disappear and pull it out of their ear. I juggle. I look in their face and think, "I see you. I see you. And you are in my prayers."
Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
 
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
  • #014: Flying a kite
  • #015: Everyone is held
  • #016: Dry fish in the sun
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these are; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
This email and my work in Cambodia is made possible by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners program through which I work. To support me, use this secure online form. If you are outside the US, you can donate through PayPal.com (specify "maria_montello@yahoo.com" as the recipient).
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