The Saturday before last week’s Dream Banquet one of our girls came to me and asked if it would be all right if she and two other girls could sing a song for Remembrance Day at our next Playhouse, which was yesterday. When I asked her what she wanted to sing, she said Safe and Sound. I had not heard of this song and drawing on my own life experiences, assumed it would be a nice “children’s song” that she learned at school. Wanting to encourage her, and feeling deep down that this would be a profound moment, I agreed.
When it came time for her to sing yesterday she and another friend (the original two were away for the weekend) came forward to sing. This was no “children’s song” however, but, in fact a Taylor Swift song and the lyrics were powerfully moving. Every rambunctious, excited-to-be-at-the-Playhouse child, was spellbound by the richness of their voices and erupted in enthusiastic applause when it was over. As for me, I was, as some would say, “toast” and it was a little hard to hold it together to prevent creating a giant puddle of tears right there on the stage with them. However, seeing this as a wonderful teaching moment to reinforce the week’s theme of “helping others”, I drew on the fact that soldiers helped us by going away to other countries to protect our freedom and that some even died in wars. I suggested that even though it wasn’t officially Remembrance Day we would have a two minutes of silence in honour of the soldiers who had fought for our freedom. What followed amazed me.
Every normally excited child from the youngest six year old, to the oldest junior leader, stood still with heads bowed and kept respectful silence, for the entire two minutes. Impressive and definitely indicative to all who were present that there is so much more going on in those hearts of theirs. These children, although perhaps not grasping the full meaning of what they were doing were able intuitively to understand the seriousness of the moment and showed an enormous respect for those who had fought for their freedom.
I can only speculate as to why they did this. The Taylor Swift song has a haunting yet hopeful lyric that despite the war outside the window you are still “safe and sound”. The fact that many of our kids come from refugee families from war torn African countries and others come from families fighting their own battles forced onto them by poverty, my thoughts turn toward the possibility that these children are soldiers fighting in their own little war. The reason that they stood in such silence and were able to sustain it, is because they can relate.
The 2012 City Kidz Dream Banquet and Silent Auction was a success. We sold out, the Centurion Banquet Centre menu was excellent and keynote Yasir Naqvi MPP for Ottawa Centre and EMCEE Richard Long of Love Ottawa were eloquent. We raised over $4,000 from the generosity of all the people present. It was a big event and quite positively impacting for me, in the end.
But, as big a moment as that event was for me, I had my biggest moment yesterday at Saturday’s Playhouse, as I was reminded as to why I started a branch of City Kidz in Ottawa and why we need the money to keep our program going: It’s about the kids. It’s about putting a smile on those battle weary faces; telling them we love them, that God loves them, that we believe they can achieve their greatest dream. It’s about being to them that someone who they can lean on when their battles are raging on.
And for those of our investors who have donated either their time, or large sums of money, or silent auction gifts so we could keep this program present in the lives of these children, you are as much a part of keeping their dreams alive as those of us on the frontlines are. You can go ahead and feel REALLY GOOD about what you have done. Because, in the end, it’s all about all of us who are concerned for their welfare singing to them, along with Taylor Swift, the lyric to her beautiful song Safe and Sound:
Don't you dare look out your window, darling,
Everything's on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold on to this lullaby
Even when the music's gone
Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound
Good on you!!
…And ONE for all!!