Along our travels of eleven years, we have met lots of elders that have boatloads of wisdom. They may only have a high school education, but they have three PhDs-worth of practical wisdom. Last summer one elder who we see occasionally on the reservation knew we were in trouble by the swears that were coming out of the Chiropractic office/movie theater.
One of the band members had a guitar meltdown and from out of the blue this elder offered his prized guitar to the musician. He said, "I’ll pick it up when you’re done with it." We were stunned by the act of kindness. He then preceded to say:
"I have witnessed all the kids you guys (LHNC) have been helping all of these years. Some of the things you do for they kids, they appear to be from out of the pages of God’s playbook. It’s like you know just what the kids need and will treasure for the rest of their lives.
When you have contests or race against the kids, you guys always give your best effort. Even if a kid doesn’t win this year, they start to develop a hunger and a pride that hasn’t been seen around these parts for years.
Many of the other groups that come here mean well, but you can silently observe them and they think they are different, as if they're superior or distinct from the kids. They don’t hug or rough house with the kids like you guys do.
Sadly, most of them do not return to the reservation. Maybe it depresses them or they think that it’s hopeless.
Your group takes in every kid you meet and makes them feel recognized and special.
The kids on the reservation don’t want anybody to feel sorry for them, they want to feel good about themselves and your group has a knack of doing just that.
One of my grandsons had begun to veer down a path of making poor choices. Now he looks so forward to your visits to the reservation. He looks at members of your group as role models and is changing the way he conducts himself. This year he was one of the Santas at one of the schools where you were handing out presents.
It looks like he has a good chance of turning his life around. Yes, the negative circumstances and shady acquaintances are around 24/7, but your group (LHNC) has given him something to strive for…a path of honor."