I took the photo on the left several years ago in the highlands of southern Tanzania. The grandmother in the photo was taking care of her ten grandchildren (only three in the photo) because their parents were all dead of AIDS. It was a heart-wrenching story and I have always gotten emotional looking at the photo.
In July, 2012, my own daughter was born, and I think being her dad has given me new insight on this photo. The little girl in the front is not dressed for the muddy streets, for the cool highland climate, or for spending time on the dirt floor of her cramped home. She is dressed like a princess, or as close as her grandmother can manage. That's how her grandmother sees her; not as a grubby orphan, but as a princess who has potential, value, and dreams. In the past I always just felt pity when I looked at this photo. I never saw the grandmother's high regard for her granddaughter until I had my own daughter and felt the same about her.
As an educator, I don't often view the students I serve as royalty, but perhaps I should. All of them have immense value; even the grubby ones, the ones who won't do their homework, and the ones who bully others. I wonder what a difference it would make if every adult they encountered at school would treat them as if they were a prince or princess. How would that sort of respect change them?