Isn’t it funny how you can read a story 100 times or more and never think anything of it and then all of a sudden read it again and suddenly you see a truth. Tonight I was popping my girls to bed, and because we take turns picking the story based on the date, it was Ava Rose turn, so off she toddled to the shelf and picked the Ugly Duckling.
I’m always so conscious reading this book to our girls, because I don’t like that they can think that things; or more to the point, humans are ugly, but this is one of her favourites because of the swans who feature at the end.I’m sure like me you have read this story lots, or at least know the storyline, a little egg gets lost among the ducks and as this little ‘duckling’ hatches he is left to feel different, too tall, too grey, too fluffy, and these little ducks make him feel blue because of it, eventually leaving him to run away and sadly never be his true self until the end. Tonight I reread this story and realised that this is the truth of many little ones all around the world, little ones who were born into families who should love and protect them, only to find that they are called horrible names, their flaws picked upon, they are treated poorly and unprotected, left to fend for themselves growing up with insecurities. Then later in life what we then find is broken adults, unable to love properly and deal with emotions well.
What a waste of a childhood? The moments where these little ones should be learning to value themselves and their worth is spent defending themselves, and then what happens is heart rendering, they start to become the words spoken over them. These beautiful little masterpieces become angry inside, confused, distraught, and frustrated and usually with themselves, striving to be better, and always falling short. Striving to succeed and never reaching the heights put upon them with goal posts that never cease to widen. These little ones never reach their full potential.
As a Christian I believe it is my role to show love to those who need it most. Sometimes those who need it most happen to be under the age of 18, so can I tell you how much I adore our kid’s ministries, people who dedicate their time to show the love of Jesus in a fun way, people who sit down with our kids and ask them how they are, really caring for the answer. I believe there is no such thing as an ugly duckling, the duckling may be misplaced, but never ugly. A child can never be ugly, simply confused, simply lost, simply unloved but never ugly. As adults it is our job to love and protect our little ones. It is our job to keep them safe and ensure they feel loved.
If you have the extra finances can I ask you to consider contacting companies like Abaana or Compassion UK and sponsor a child, giving them the chance to feel like the Swan they are? If you don’t have the financial ability to impact these lives maybe you could help too, find a local church that work with Kids and get involved, go down and commit to a weekly time schedule and impact the life of the kids you will meet. Especially in inner cities where the kids are found in deprived areas. And if you are unable to do both of these then pray! Pray these little ones into the hands of Jesus, like He said in Matthew 19, “let the children come to me and do not hinder them”. We shouldn’t be pushing them away instead we should be opening the doors of our churches to find new ways to reach this lost and dying society.
The end of this story is one of my favourites, the little duckling had spent its whole life so far running from his own reflection, running from himself, his friends, anyone who would come near, so afraid of judgment and aggression, and yet here come these swans, people who wanted to be near. It is in this moment this duckling realises his worth, when he stops listening to the harsh voices he had always heard, and listens to the one within, it is when he looks at his own reflection and makes a decision about who he is, then and there he takes flight; his life becomes what it should have always been.
Side note: always be the swans, look for the good in people and celebrate it, encouraging everyone you meet to be the best version of themselves.
However if you were a duckling who has become a broken adult, can I urge you to ignore those voices that say those things, those negative things over your life and listen to the voice inside. For God says you are beautiful, you are a masterpiece created by the first and only true creator, you are special, loved, and cared for! You do not have to live as one who has no one to love them, I know someone who loves you deeply, enough to spread his arms wide open and die for your sins and His name is Jesus. Come to the well of his love and drink deeply, for little duckling you have no idea what amazing things this man, this God can do in your life if you only believe.