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Editor's Note: Can you be a Horton?

I had the privilege of covering the Childrens Summer Theater production of “Seussical” over the weekend. It was a great show, and the kids did such a great job with it. It reminded me of a few years ago when I covered Dr. Seuss’s “Horton Hears a Who” at Shafter High School.

It really hit me in a way that I didn’t expect. I ended up writing an editorial about it a couple of weeks afterward. Unfortunately, the sentiment still seems the same today, as it was a few years ago.

The play is about an elephant named Horton, who hears a cry for help coming from a speck of dust that sits atop a clover. He talks to the people on the speck, especially a child named JoJo.

People laugh and scoff at Horton when he tells people what he has heard. No one will believe him, and he can’t get anyone to help them.

He starts to think that he is the only one in the universe. I started wondering how many people on this Earth feel the same way. Either you are a JoJo, who is crying for help, or a Horton, who hears that cry for help but can’t find any help for those in need.

There were times when I was growing up that I felt that I was the only one in the universe. No one heard or understood what I was going through, and it was like I was invisible. Thank God that He put people in my path that heard that faint cry and offered me an ear to talk to. How good it felt to know that I was not alone and that I would be able to make it through this trial or that situation.

As the years went by, I am ashamed to say that I wasn’t a very good Horton to those around me. Sometimes you don’t need to have someone come to you, crying that their life is not going right, that they need some sort of help, that they are dying inside. Sometimes you can see it with a look on their face, or even hear a faint cry in something that they may say. But, I have chosen to not hear the cry, ignoring that desperate plea.

What a much better world we would live in if there were more Hortons, with the compassion and willingness to listen to that cry for help. It only takes just one Horton in someone’s life to make that difference. One kind gesture, or one conversation, can put someone in a mindset that gives them a glimmer of hope. Letting them know that they are not alone in the universe, there is someone who cares.

Would you be that Horton for somebody? There is a line in the play that says, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

This can mean a person being a small child that needs help, letting them know that they matter, no matter how small they are. It can also be for those who feel small, like a speck of dust, not feeling that they have a place in this universe. Well, no matter how small, everyone is a person and needs someone to recognize them as one. Please take the time to listen for that faint cry.

Jamie Stewart is editor of The Shafter Press. His opinions are his own, and may not represent the views of the paper or its management.


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