This past Sunday, Nora* ran in a marathon to raise money for the shelter she lives in with her parents in the city. Nora is a refugee. She is 10 years old. Her goal was to raise $100 but when I checked 2 days before the race, she was nearing  $1000. The sun was shining on Sunday, but the temperature had dipped below the freezing mark overnight. Everything sparkled with frost, but I bet Nora ran with a warm heart.

Sometimes we underestimate kids. We (unfairly) lump them together with those who act like spoiled brats. Like the teens who walk across an intersection as slowly as possible with an infuriating smirk directed at you. Or the ones Little Guy raced across a ball diamond (with me in hot pursuit) to watch a group of tweens roll a grocery cart off a picnic shelter roof.

Little Guy was 6 the first time he ran the PowerPoint computer on a Sunday morning. We were short-staffed, and he was excited to help out. While some were encouraging, others were horrified because of his age. They underestimated his ability to do the job well.

This past Sunday, he was called upon to help out in a new capacity…and I wondered what some would think. 30 minutes before the service began, Little Guy was asked by the worship leader to play a cajon drum for our last song. The leader took the time to show him how to play a simple 4 bar beat, and we ran through the song once.

I was concerned: would he be able to maintain a steady beat? Would this be a positive experience for him, or would he refuse to ever try again? Would he chicken out in the first place? I didn’t mean to underestimate his willingness or his ability, but in some ways I did.

He did an amazing job. It wasn’t perfect and it didn’t matter. I love it when my kid reminds me what’s more important.

Sometimes kids are spoiled brats and sometimes they’re just good kids who get caught up in the moment. And there are others who are getting caught up in trying to make the world a better place…one charity race or one note at a time.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”