Children With Talent That is Not Encouraged

June 17, 2011
How many young people have the potential to develop great talent but are unable to do so because they live in unstable and dangerous conditions?

This morning I checked my email to find a video on “Korea’s Got Talent.” As someone who doesn’t watch the American version and has only seen the one of “Britain’s Got Talent” — with the unpolished but brilliant Susan Boyle who is now the highest selling UK artist overseas — I wondered what made this video impressive enough to land on Mel’s Daily Video.

It highlighted Sung-bong Choi, an orphan who lived on his own since he was five years old, sleeping in stairwells and pubic restrooms and selling chewing gum on the street. He taught himself and got a GED and didn’t go to school until high school, so he must have brains. Without the television contest, we may never have had the chance to hear him. And he may never have had the chance to develop his talent further.

How many other people are there whose talents in many different arenas remain unknown because they haven’t had a chance to shine in public? How many children have been crushed by the indifference of adults in this sometimes-cruel world?

As I watched, I thought of a segment on the “News Hour” on Wednesday in which a young Afghan girl said she liked to skateboard (which would never have been allowed under the Taliban). Even though she could now join the boys, the areas where they were able to ride were strewn with stones blown off buildings in Kabal. At the end, the voice of one of the young men says, “I want to live in a country without war.”

Such a simple wish we adults seem unable or unwilling to provide the children of Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Yet without a basic level of shelter, food and education for everyone, we make it less likely that peace will come very soon. How many young people have great talent that is never encouraged by the adults in their lives because the adults are too busy fighting one another?

If for no other reason than to see the correlation between the British and Korean shows, I suggest you watch this one. It’s already been seen by more than 6 million people and is clearly a winner.

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