Just Kids

More thoughts from Logan while interning with the Daraja Choir this Fall:

At first glance, many people think there is a huge difference between American children and the Kenyan children in this choir. And I mean yes, while there are some obvious differences, at the same time there are so many similarities. As we continue to travel, I hear many people comment about our kids, and most say they are incredible. They are amazingly talented, and they are well mannered, and just so polite. Those are the things I constantly hear. Honestly, all of those things are true. And I am not here to say they aren’t. We have amazing children on tour here. But I want to emphasize something very big. At heart, they are just kids.

They are different in some aspects compared to American children. They are much more appreciative of the little things. And the kids seem to cherish every moment and every activity they are doing. These kids have an unreal work ethic. They love to help and they love to clean. That is probably the biggest difference in these kids and American kids. I have never seen kids clean a bathroom like these kids do sometimes. Its amazing. Another difference is the level of intelligence. And this differs in different aspects. Academically speaking, these kids are not blessed with the same education that American students have. And that is a challenge these kids have to face every day. Is it fair? No. But it’s the situation they are in. So intellectually, academia seems like a rough place for these kids. And for some, that isn’t true. Some of them thrive in school. But some don’t. But spiritually, these may be the most mature 11 and 12 year olds I have seen. The faith these kids have is incredible. Sometimes, I feel like a spiritual dwarf compared to them.  They pray with a faith I have never truly seen before now. And these kids will absorb the Bible like a Sham-wow absorbs anything. And next thing you know, they are spitting out verses like it is no big deal. They are very blessed to have great role models and spiritual mentors in our Kenyan adults, but it really is amazing to see how mature these kids are with the Lord. These are a few of the things I have seen to make Kenyan children different from American children. And most of it simply has to do with the fact many of these kids just are not westernized and accustomed to the typical American culture.

Although most people immediately note the differences in these kids, I think it would surprise you just how many similarities these kids have with American children. One thing I really want to emphasize in writing this is that these are just kids. They have the same struggles every other kid has too. They go through fits of jealousy. Of anger. Of confusion. They argue with each other. They get angry. They are just kids. It is part of growing up and it is a part of life they have to figure out. It shapes who they will become based on how they respond. And THAT is what actually sets them apart from the rest of the world.

You see, these kids were ordained by God to be here. They were ordained to lead people in worship. It’s what they do. And they take that very seriously. Because of this, they are very in tune with just how big and important God is in their lives. And because of that, He influences how they react to certain situations. They know He is watching them, and they want to bring Him honor and glory in everything they do. And that is what sets them apart from the world. That is what makes these kids special. Their foundation is built upon Jesus Christ. That influences them in most everything they do. They are very special children, but we must remember they are not above anyone else. God looks at these kids the same way He looks at other kids. He loves them all the same. These Kenyan children just understand that at a much younger age, which is what makes them seem so different from other children. Really, the difference people see… is God. That’s it. Plain and simple. But when it really comes down to it, when they aren’t on stage, when they aren’t singing, when they are playing soccer, or other games, they are just kids. Kids that happen to find their identity in Christ and kids who happen to lead tens of thousands in worship every year, but still…. just kids.