On the Rez: Aspen’s Heart

We’ve all heard the saying “it’s better to give than to receive,” and most people would say that they agree with that. But is it really better to give than to receive? Do you really believe that? Or maybe the better question would be do you act that out?

 What if you came from a culture that had a true heart of giving, a people whose giving nature had abounded until it was overcome by a culture of takers? What if you were a Native American? Would you still think it is better to give than to receive?  

 Many people on some of the poorer reservations have spent their whole lives with so little that they rely on the assistance of others just to make do. Even those who are able to take care of themselves most likely live more by the mantra “waste not, want not” than any other. In such a situation, giving to others can be very rare. That’s what makes the actions of one little girl really stand out.

 The little girl is Aspen, a second grader at Windswept Academy. She was at school one day when she overheard a teacher talking to a little boy in the first grade. He had very badly chapped lips, and it must have been uncomfortable for him. The teacher told the boy to ask his grandmother to get him some ChapStick to bring to school with him the next day, so he could use it throughout the day as he needed it.  However, even simple needs like that don’t always get met. And, sure enough, the next day, he came to school without it. But Aspen had noticed the need and had guessed that it would go unmet, so she came to the rescue. Walking over to the little boy, she handed him a brand new tube of ChapStick and told him “this is your very own.”  

 Yes, it was just a tube of ChapStick, but for someone who has lived a life devoid of such kindness, it was an incredible ray of sunshine. The little boy told her, “You are my first friend.” Aspen did make a friend that day. Now, he follows her around everywhere wanting to be near the one who showed him kindness in the form of a simple gift of ChapStick.

 So, even with all of the troubles we may encounter or the financial problems we may face, is it better to give than to receive? I think so. We never know when we might be the first friend someone has ever had.

Thank you Aspen for teaching us that even when we don’t have much ourselves, it’s still important to help others.


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