You know those people…the ones who are unapologetically awesome in the face of obstacles and don’t seem to experience feelings of insecurity or insufficiency?

Ava is one of those people. And at five years old, she is my new hero.

Ava was adopted from China and was born with a cleft palate. Despite corrective surgery, Ava still struggles to be understood when she talks, even by her family. But instead of letting that get her down, she overcomes it with a magnetic personality and an explosive friendliness that is impossible to deny.

Ava wants to be famous. Famous for loving people.

A few of weeks ago, Ava’s aunt came over to bake cupcakes with her. When her mother asked what in the world they were going to do with three-dozen cupcakes (while muttering something about the freezer under her breath), Ava interrupted with, “I’m going to sell them for the children in Aleppo.”

Being a child, and an audacious one at that, Ava didn’t care how bake sales typically worked. She was not going to wait around for people to come to her. The next day, she followed her mom to work and went door to door in the office, asking everyone to help the hungry, scared kids of Aleppo.

Even though they couldn’t understand everything she said in her beautiful, garbled voice, the message came through—and Ava went home with an empty cupcake tray and a pocket full of cash to donate to our emergency response in Aleppo.

As her mom tucked her into bed that night, Ava whispered, “Am I famous, mom?”

Her mom whispered back, “Yes, Ava. I think the way you loved the children in Aleppo today makes you famous with God.”

It also makes her famous with us.

Maybe Ava is able to rise above because she is not focused on herself. Instead, she is focused on loving others loudly and unabashedly.

She is not embarrassed by her smallness. She is unashamed of who she is. She is not intimidated by the enormity of need in Aleppo. She just knew she wanted to help the kids of Aleppo. And she did.

That’s why, when I grow up, I want to be like Ava.

 

Diana Oestreich contributed to this story.

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