In May, 2016 news broke about the children of a remote mountain village in China’s Sichuan province. These children, some as young as 6 years, make the most perilous journey in order to attend public school.
To reach a school bus at the bottom of their mountain these children must climb down a series of 17 ladders, made of wood and vine, to descend the 2,500-feet sheer face of a cliff. Then, once reaching the bus, they must make the 20-mile trip to the school. The trip is so strenuous and dangerous that the children stay at the school for a minimum of two weeks at a time, though some stay for months. Parents of the children volunteer to supervise the descent and, when the children return, the ascent.
The people of the mountain hamlet, Atule’er, a village of no more than 400 people, construct the ladders themselves. These ladder, which require constant repair and replacement, are their only means of reaching the outside world. Yet, despite the price they pay in getting their children to a public school, the villagers see it as the only chance of digging their way out of poverty.
One can only imagine what stories these students will have to tell their own grandchildren about how “bad it was going to school as a child.” We hardly believe the “hard life” stories our grandparent told us.
But this story should prick our hearts whenever we don’t feel like rolling out of bed to catch the bus, just down the block, to school.
It’s no wonder that so many people immigrate to America. America remains the land of opportunity. But to home-grown Americans, these opportunities are like those “wonders of the world” which locals grow up with, but never bother to visit. Their familiarity breeds contempt and neglect.
Yet opportunities do abound in this nation. So stop complaining about all those people pushing their way into America and recognize the opportunities which they are after. Get off your duff and take advantage of them yourself. If you do not, someone else – with less brains and talent – will.
Look at what King Solomon wrote. “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber” (Proverbs 5:6-11, NLT).
Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to all the great opportunities around me – things I’ve grown so accustomed to that I no longer see them. Please put in me the drive, purpose, direction, and confidence I need to be successful in life. Amen.