Out of the Mouth of Children

We like to think that with age comes experience and wisdom. Often times, that is true. However, today, I was reminded there is no greater courage and ability than that which comes from a child. Two examples – on opposite sides of the spectrum – making a similar point.

Monnika “Nikki” Gay was killed in front of her St. Clair Village home, in front of her niece and nephews. Police have accused Charles Cabiness of the killing, in broad daylight, of the Wilkinsburg woman. The back story here is that Cabiness’ brother was suspected of killing Gay because she was about to testify against Cabiness’ brother, who was accused of shooting and killing Gay’s brother.

If that all sounds confusing, image being the 12-year-old girl who lost his sister. Well, this little girl was also a witness to the killing of Gay, so at the request of the assistant district attorney, she testified to what she saw — and against Cabiness at today’s preliminary hearing. She was sobbing, probably terrified but show a courage beyond her years. She did what no one had done so far in the case — identified the accused shooter.

Her bravery and her choice to do the right thing was recognized by the assistant D.A.:

 “You know people are sick and tired of this nonsense in their neighborhood and when it takes a 12-year-old child to come forward and carry the ball, you’ve got to give that kid a pat on the back.”

And a little child shall lead them.

My second example, in one day, of a child showing their elders the way took place at a charity dinner. Variety – The children’s Charity – has held a gala for the last 82 years but it likely hasn’t seen anything like the young lady who performed at the William Penn Hotel tonight.

I met Jackie Evancho and her mother before the performance. Apparently,s she had just released her first CD a week ago. I thought to myself she was talented enough to cut a CD, but I wasn’t expecting to blown away or anything with her singing. I even asked her before she started singing how good she was. She said she was “ok”.

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Then, this 9-year-old girl in a flowing champagne dress and beautiful blonde hair picked up the microphone and began to sing. Suddenly, she transformed from a 9-year-old kid to a young person with a voice well beyond her years. The crowd of 300 or so sat stunned and mesmerized. We were in both awe and disbelief as Jackie showed a range singers twice her age rarely do.

She not only sang out loud, she sang to each one of us. You forget very quickly that she was 9-years-old as you listened to her belt out classics like “Ave Maria”. She got not one, but two standing ovations.

I know for years in sports I would see young athletes and know instantly they were destined for bigger things. Today, I witnessed two young girls headed for greatness. One, because of her show of bravery and the other because of her show of talent. They may live in different worlds, but they show us all what children can do … if given a chance.

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