One of my deepest personal joys is seeing Blue Dragon kids take an interest in caring for others.
In some ways I wish that all of the kids we raise would go on to become carers and advocates, but I maintain that the motivation has to come from within, and not be a requirement for receiving our help.
So when our girls and boys do choose to pursue a career in Social Work, or volunteer at the Blue Dragon centre on the weekends, or repay their university scholarship to us early so we can use it to help somebody else, I know that their compassion really comes from the heart, and not just a sense of obligation.
‘Cuong’ is one Blue Dragon boy who has discovered a deep concern for other children, and who looks for ways to help. Despite the many difficulties of his own life, he has an instinct to protect those around him who are in need.
His part time job in the evenings is teaching rollerskating to children at a local park. As he takes the smaller kids by the hand and skates out onto the rink, his face shines with real joy. He has helped another person to stand tall and learn something new.
Last week, Cuong travelled out of Hanoi with other Blue Dragon kids and staff to spend the holiday week in a rural village. There they visited an orphanage, taking time to help others and to reflect on their own lives.
Cuong was right in there, picking up any crying babies and playing with the toddlers as though they were his own brothers and sisters.
A telling moment was when he turned to staff and said: It makes me realise how much I have in life.
Such an insight is not easy for a teenage boy to have. It would be easy for him to wallow in self pity at all the hardships life has thrown his way – none of which he has deserved.
In caring for others, Cuong is overcoming his own difficulties.
But more than that: he has a heart to share, and he has learned that he can share it in spite of his hardships.
And if Cuong can do it…
Names have been changed for privacy.