Donnivan & Jordajé

 
 

An uncomplicated way to love your neighbor

 

When I was little, I surely wasn’t thinking about how I was going to change my neighborhood and the world around me. Unlike some of us, however, these two guests brought all their spunk, intelligence and life and taught us something about being a good neighbor. I am always amazed at this phenomenal ability kids carry, this special and unique ability, to simplify complex issues of life and live it without a second thought. The fears and hinderances that keep adults stuck in their own comfort zones seem to not be an innate thing but learned behavior. This interview left me thinking a lot about "worldview" and how that's shaped over the years. It's caused me to think critically how as a parent I am responsible for my broadening my children's worldview as much as a I can. 

 

When Donnivan and Jordajé talk about what their dream neighborhood looks like and the superheroes they’d want to come live there, I was able to get a glimpse into the way that these kids want the world to be and the harmony and peace they wish existed everywhere they go. Because if Wonder Woman were here, we’d have more truth-tellers and fewer people out to trick and deceive. And if Black Panther were here, he’d save the world from the bullies and angry and hurting people walking the streets. Although having superheroes in our neighborhoods would be absolutely cool, the only option is for us to start living differently and bring others into the way we live out and love our neighbors. I guess we're the superhereos, which can be overwhelming to think about, but if all we need to do is help people tell the truth or to keep our neighbors safe from the bullies, then I think we have a good chance of stepping into those tights. 

 

Donnivan, a soon-to-be 5th grader, approaches being a good neighbor through his entrepreneurial lens, and a scope of longevity to protect his neighborhood now and the earth in the future. At school, he steps up and helps the younger students, and at home, he sees practical ways to keep neighborhoods clean and trash-free to protect the earth and maintain a healthy earth for people to live in in the future. Donnivan has a pretty lucrative slime making business as well right now. 

 

Jordajé, a 7-year-old that loves theatre, has stamped her life full of ways to love people around her. She is intentional about helping her elderly neighbor with things like groceries, and she and her friends make the new people at her youth theatre feel welcomed. To her, a neighbor is someone who is friendly and kind, who takes care of the people around them. She exudes an energy and zeal for loving people that I could take note and learn from. I left this interview feeling more energized by her zeal than I have in a long time. 

 

It’s quite inspiring to hear Donnivan and Jordajé talk about what it means to be a good neighbor and the ways that they are living that out in their own lives. They are so unafraid in how they love the people around them, and their lens of the world is still pure and clear. I heard them talk about justice, love, kindness, inclusion, grace, and vulnerability in just a short 20 minute conversation. The reality is that our kids have so much to teach us about acceptance, grace, and the openness to be better neighbors. The truth is, many of us have been broken and taken advantage by our openness over the years that prevent us from being optimistic about the next interaction, and while this is all great in theory, it's hard. Really hard. We're tired, we've lost belief that it'll be any different this time, and we're too busy or burdened to take the extra time. 

 

Learning to see the world through their eyes could very well change the way we see each other and what it means to be a good neighbor to those around us. If you're adult neighbors are too hard, start with the kids around you. Get to know them. Ask them questions about life, and see what happens. I bet it softens you and softens their parents. If nothing else, you could use the encouragement that hanging out with kids like Donnivan and Jordajé can give you.