Recently, as I made that familiar journey from home to my daughter’s school, my mind couldn’t help but wander to the many, little children my car drove past. Just like my daughter, they were all dressed in uniforms as they headed towards school. However, unlike my daughter, they made this journey either alone or in the company of people I assume to be classmates or siblings.

Many seemed to have absolutely no sense of safety as they flooded the streets and some even appeared to be going to school without proper school bags or lunch boxes.

As for their uniforms, there was nothing appealing about how they fitted and the overall comportment of some of the children was pretty questionable. This is probably because their parents have so many other urgent concerns that the fit of uniforms happen to be the very least of their problems.

Their school buildings were obviously in serious need of some major renovations and I could only imagine the quality of education going on within their 4 walls.

Of all I saw, what cut at my heart most was seeing children as young as my daughter joining the older ones in making this foot journey down to school.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it is such an awful thing for children to walk to school. But come on, shouldn’t a young, 3-year old be dropped off by an adult who ensures he makes it safely all the way into the school? Whether the journey is made by car or foot is irrelevant. What’s important is the safety presence of an adult at every point in time. Even upon arriving at school, there should be familiar teachers waiting to receive these toddlers before parents or guardians take their leave.

Then when school is over, these children should not be allowed to simply wander off in the company of just anybody. The teachers should again be on standby, waiting to hand over the toddlers only to the approved adults.

Some may describe these parents in question as careless. How can they be comfortable, entrusting their 3-year old into the hands of a neighbor’s school child who obviously has no sense of road safety?

Some may also describe the school as careless. How can they not insist on these parents doing more?  

However, as for me, rather than casting stones, let me just say that observances such as these make me feel thankful. My daughter is simply one of the privileged few. Who says that if I didn’t have the same upbringing as these parents and was plagued with challenges similar to theirs, I wouldn’t also be quick to release my child into the streets in like manner? Who says I would be bothered whether she arrives at school with a properly combed hair and ironed uniform? Who says I would have gone through the trouble of ensuring she has a pink school bag with an adorable Minnie mouse face stuck on it? Who says I would bother stacking her lunch bag with choice meals and snacks? Who says any of these things will matter to me at all?

I may not be rich but definitely, to have all these things still matter to me despite all the chaos that fills our world, I would describe myself as blessed and my daughter as privileged. That is why in this season of thanksgiving I cannot help but be truly thankful.

 However, beyond being thankful, I am also challenged to go out there and make a difference in the lives of the less privileged lot that flood our street. As I do so, I also encourage you to do the same. Don’t just wander why your hairdresser’s daughter’s plate never seems to have meat in it. You could one day surprise her with a carton of chicken if you fear she will not responsibly spend the extra money you give her.

That maid that has faithfully served you for over a year – why not send her to learn a trade, within a controlled environment, while your children are at school?

Why not occasionally surprise your gateman with a meal so that he can save a little bit more for family expenses?

Why not take interest in the education of your driver’s children?

Your impact doesn’t necessarily always have to be monetary. Just taking interest, advising, encouraging and mentoring could sometimes be all that’s expected of us. What’s important is that as we count our own blessings, we don’t miss out on the chance to touch the lives of others out there…most especially the children!!! Also, don’t forget to teach your children to do the same so that they always remember that these blessings are privileges from above, and definitely not rights they were born to have.

So moms, before we move from the Thanksgiving to the Christmas season, what are those things you are most thankful for? Are there ways in which your blessings can be paid forward?

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