The Gift of Giving

Oct 15, 2019

Steph Duff

For privacy and the protection of children, names in this story have been changed.

From an early age, Julia has shown spunk and a natural tendency for giving to others. She and her four siblings came to a children’s home seven years ago. The five children endured the difficult loss of both their parents, and even in the midst of that, Julia surprised everyone with her generous spirit. 

Julia arrived at the home when she was four, strong-willed and a natural leader. “When children are raised in homes that include more than just their family, they can often display hoarding tendencies, particularly with food and clothing,” shared Amanda Obemeasor, Back2Back staff. “It’s their way of trying to protect themselves, ensuring they have enough.” However, Julia has always provided for others first – a field trip to a local playground one day included a snack for all the children. Julia helped pass out the snacks to everyone else first, before enjoying one herself.

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This inclination to help others has grown as Julia has, and recently she demonstrated a beautiful lesson in giving. The school Julia attends has a variety of children who live in homes like hers and those who live in the community with their families. Julia and her best friend, a young girl from an impoverished part of the community, were playing outside when a gust of wind revealed to Julia, her friend didn’t have proper undergarments. She made a decision to help on the spot.

She returned to the home later in the day with her face, and heart, set in determination. She went to all the girls similar in age and size to her best friend at school, and made her mission very clear. “We need to start collecting undergarments for my friend at school,” she told them. “She needs our help.” She gifted what she had gathered the following day to her friend, but it still did feel like enough for Julia. 

She knew her birthday was near, so she went to the caregivers at the home and made a special request. “Could part of my birthday gift be set aside to get something special for my friend at school?” she asked. Staff happily obliged and marveled at her generosity.

“This is a testament to the small gestures of kindness and compassion she sees around her every day from her caregivers and Back2Back staff,” shared Amanda. “It also shows she truly understands the importance of giving.”

At eleven-years old, Julia shares a bedroom with eight other girls at the home. Each bed is shared by two girls, they often share clothing, and Julia has never owned a toy that was totally hers, and hers alone. After staff agreed to split her birthday gift to help her friend, they asked her why she wanted to share it. Simi’s answer was immediate and concrete. “I know I will always have enough.”

Julia’s response to her friend’s need was heartfelt. She was exercising her heart for others, alongside of caregivers who love and will continue to guide her in how to see the needs of others and share the resources she’s been given. Thank you for being a part of this story and a part of the lives of children who are learning how to both give and receive.

Steph Duff is a writer, daughter, sister, and really loud laugher. By day she lends her voice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children with Back2Back Ministries. By night she is readily found with her nose in a book and spending time with her dog, Telulah. At all hours, she can be found consuming copious amounts of coffee. She feels most herself in the heat of India and prefers her mugs big, her books long, and her words intentional.

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