It is the time you have wasted on your rose that makes your rose so important.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Have you ever read The Little Prince? Sometimes children’s stories are filled with the most wisdom. The tale follows a little boy lost in a desert, a fox, and rose. It reveals to us where the true beauty in life is found and how, even if nobody else understands why we find reason to laugh, once we know how to experience life’s beauty, we know where to find it.
Whether it is a relationship, a job, a passion, or a flower that we “waste” our time on, it is this thing that we grow so fondly in love with. It is the time spent which gives that thing so much importance to it and to us.
Development work can feel like a waste of time some days. You can spend your day planning a perfect lesson, buying snacks, and organizing the girls’ folders. When you are dropped off by your taxi (which cost you time and money) and only one girl welcomes you to school, you can wonder, “What is the point?”
Or maybe you show up to English class once a week to teach 30 rowdy 4th graders and feel like your presence is more like babysitting so the full-time teacher can drink tea for an hour.
Waste. Of. Time.
Or is it?
We believe it is not a waste of time, but rather a valuable investment. Has anyone ever invested in your life? Have you ever not paid attention to their teachings on some days? Have you ever not shown up when they so faithfully did? Have you ever made someone else feel like they were wasting their time…on you?
The things we spend our time, energy and spirit, bursting at the seams to sow, are worth it. No matter what. Development work. Working with people. Working with kids whose lives are so volatile, so tender, so inconsistent, but not so innocent, you have to invest and invest and invest your time, even if that shining smile is never to be seen again. You need to keep showing up for the one girl who is there. You need to keep investing in the bigger picture. You need to see them through the day, even if they don’t see you ever again, because in the end the things we “waste” our time on are important, and maybe, just maybe, that can change them.
You are responsible for your rose. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery