During most Saturday programs at M. A. Center, I sit in the back of the hall cutting out old photos of Amma from cassette covers, calendars, and various outdated printed material to recycle or frame. Inevitably, a few children – maybe 4 or 5, sometimes more – will stop by to help along with a parent. They sit for a some time, and some stay, while some eventually get distracted and bounce away like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Some come back, only to bounce away again…
Tonight, I was looking forward to returning to my usual spot after having been in India for a month. I brought a few boxes of old calendars up to the hall with the hopes that a few Balakendra kids would help once they came to the hall after their own program had finished.
No sooner had I opened the first box, when a young boy and girl both about 6 years old, came over and offered to help. They sat down and I assigned them jobs of unwrapping the plastic, taking out the cardboard insert, and removing the back cover which will be later cut into smaller photos.
It must have looked like fun to the others, because within minutes, there were maybe 12-15 kids asking to pitch in. It was one of the largest groups of kids – and not a parent in sight. The young boy and girl assumed command – assigning jobs, measuring the speed, giving praise, and organizing the flow. Soon, they were all working in unison in this cacophony of a ‘dis-assembly’ line.
One boy was overjoyed whenever I passed him a fresh calendar to work on. To him, getting one right out of the box was like winning the lottery.
In the midst of all this chaos, the young girl turned to the boy and exclaimed with a huge expression of immense glee, and a measure of matter-of-factly-speaking – ”This is Service, I like Service!” To which the boy replied, ‘I LOVE doing service,’ followed by the girl’s response, ‘Amma says Service is GOOD!’
And indeed it is.
Sri Pati – USA