"Mommy!!! I get to do my school project on Anne Frank!!!"
My daughter bounded toward me in a happy skip and landed on the blue bench that usually proves my seat of choice whilst I wait for the dismissal bell. I knew quite well what that news flash meant. My house would soon transform into a scene from World War II and we would all be eating, breathing, and sleeping facts about a secret little annexe in the streets of Amsterdam. No problem! I love this topic!
Sure enough my little girl started immediately studying that other little girl who lived so far away and for such a short amount of time. As I taught Julia about the diary, the darkness of Hitler's vision, and about Anne's conviction and optimism through her sufferings I came to ponder and take into my life a different lesson. Otto and Edith Frank had no idea what they were raising. They didn't know that their daughter's name and theirs would be handed down with love across generations and throughout the world. They didn't know that high school students would reenact their sufferings in hiding as my sister Coral did in the role of the beloved Anne. They didn't know what a beacon of light their daughter would be to many. They had no idea that they were witnessing an everlasting and exquisite moment of history every time their young daughter quietly picked up a pen.
What of our children? They may not have to go into hiding, but perhaps their stories will also eventually change the world. How are we treating them? Do we look on them as a mere responsibility, or even a burden? Or do we see in them that golden hue of innocent light that this darkened world so badly needs? Do we believe in them or do we treat them roughly and in ways to lower their self esteem, extinguishing that flame of beauty they naturally possess?
I have never shared this until now but in high school seminary my teacher asked all of us to take out a piece of paper and write a letter to someone in history. One classmate read hers aloud which had the class laughing to the point of tears. I quietly folded mine and threw it away but not before some classmates caught hold of it and read it silently. It went something like this:
Dear Anne Frank,
I know who you are. So many people know who you are. Your sufferings are not in vain and someday millions throughout the world will speak of you with love and great honor Your words and your influence will be felt in nearly every country in the world. Don't give up. There is a purpose to this and it will be glorious.
One hundred years from now what will all the world wish to tell your child, the neighbors' child, or that quiet little kid who finds himself constantly teased by others?
Just a thought.