The Hero Within The Child

by SidewalkPhilosopher

It took a special kind of hero for a tiny little girl to face her fears at such a young age and find success, overcoming such a huge obstacle.

Slowly, at first, we began to talk, soon finding ourselves giggling together, her personality delightful, with a sunny smile. She teased me in her sweet way and we began to share our lives, one sentence at a time. As I put words on paper today, I want to try to help each of you see Carol through her own eyes.

Our First Meeting

This spring seemed, to me, to be very much like many springs past. Here in Florida, it was already turning quite hot and promised a sweltering summer ahead.

As I pulled out last year’s sandals, I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure, something that was almost foreign to me.

Deciding to simply take a quick run to the Mall near our home, I just walked into the nearest salon and threw myself at the mercy of whomever offered their services first.

Within a few minutes, a pretty, little Vietnamese girl walked up to me with a ready smile who spoke excellent English. For this, I was thankful because I had some questions and knew she and I would be able to understand one another easily.

Leading me to a chair, she began to prepare for my pedicure. The warm water in the small tub was delightful and I found, quite relaxing.

Slowly, at first, we began to talk, soon finding ourselves giggling together, her nineteen year old personality delightful, with a sunny smile. She teased me in her sweet way and we began to share our lives, one sentence at a time.

Once we were face to face during the manicure, we could talk easily and the time passed very quickly. She had done a beautiful job and I promised to return again. Giving me her name, we said our goodbyes and parted.

After several trips to her little salon, I found I began to really look forward to our visits more than the treatment I received, though that was marvelous, too.

Goodbye To A Friend

As I put words on paper today, I want to try to help each of you see Carol through her own eyes. She has loaned me her high school scrapbook where she has written some of her wonderful thoughts and dreams for her life. These thoughts are worthy of a much older person and cry to be shared.

Carol talks often about her country, telling me of the grandmother she has left behind, whom she misses very much.

Her Vietnamese name is THU TRAN and her family nickname since birth is "Boo."

Her dream is to travel throughout our great nation, seeing America state by state someday. But, for now, her education is her priority and she does not take this task lightly.

She wishes to live a beautiful life, sharing her happiness with everyone around her.

I soon learned she had only been in America for two years, beginning classes in an American school during her Junior year. 

When leaving VietNam, she had to say goodbye to her best friend, not knowing when they would meet again. 


If one day you want to cry
Let’s call me!
I am not promise to make you smile
But I promise to cry with you.


If one day you want to run away
Let’s call me!
I am not promise to stop you
But I promise to run with you.
If one day you just want quiet
Let’s call me!
I promise to sit
And quiet with you.


If one day you call for me
But you hear it quiet
Let’s come to me
Because I need you.



She and her family made the long move to America together, to a strange country with a strange language, stranger customs and even stranger food.

It was difficult for her at first because of the language barrier. However, with the help of a special new friend and a wonderful teacher, she soon began to make her place in this country.

It took a special kind of hero for a tiny little girl to face her fears at such a young age and find success, overcoming such a huge obstacle.

At 19, she has begun classes at our nearby Community College. She was nervous about it, worrying about her reading comprehension. Though she speaks beautiful English, reading is still a great challenge for her. However, I find her to be very intelligent and know she will do well once she feels more confident.

Though Carol is so young, she has acquired a knowledge of life that far reaches that of an American teenager. I marvel at her desire to learn and become someone who always finds a way to give happiness to others. It is her desire to become a nurse, not because of the money she can make, but because she considers it a loving, giving, sweet profession of care and concern for others. Her attitude toward success is so very refreshing!

THU TRAN's Philosophy Of Life

We have now known each other for six months. During this six months, we have grown into a friendship which I cherish very much. Though there are many years between us and I am old enough to be her grandmother, we share an understanding of many things and our differences become fewer with each passing month.

I find myself marveling at how many things our personalities have in common and how much I have grown to care for this young girl.






(Carol and her older brother)





Carol seems to find happiness in every aspect of her life from the people she meets to the very air she breathes. Her life has known sadness, too, in the loss of her aunt whom she considered her second mother. She misses her still today though she was a very little girl when her aunt passed.

(Sketch artist: THU TRAN)

She talks of the heroes in her life. Her heroes come from many sources, some that you and I have probably never thought to consider as heroes.

Of course, her parents are her heroes, as are her siblings and her teachers.

However, she finds heroes in an animal for their protection, in her house for its shelter and safety, or simply in her bed for its comfort and strength of rest for a new day. A hero can be a person who changes just a small part of the world we live in by the work they do or an act of kindness. If she can bring happiness to just one person, she herself feels she is a hero.

Carol loves flowers and loves to receive them, just like any 19 year old girl. However, they mean much more to her. She loves them because she feels they share feelings, giving them meaning. Flowers can show love, peace, happiness, sadness, or disappointment. Flowers can release stress and make our very world more beautiful.

She believes in the intelligence in all of us. Troubles do not mean failure but, in trouble, you learn to depend on yourself and develop your own intelligence. You learn to solve your own problems and feel successful as your own person.

Remembering her grandfather, hearing a conversation between her father and him, she shared his philosophy of aging and death. He was accepting of it as a way of life. “Whatever happens, happens for I know it will. We cannot run away and hide from it so why be afraid. Life is long but your time comes quickly. So, we should celebrate today, love life, making a point of painting your life in bright colors."

Carol values the things taught to her by her grandmother and remembers those lessons in the way she lives her life.

(Sketch artist: THU TRAN)

Grandma is old
Her hair is white
Her hands and feet are weak
She is sick often.


I am sick,
Yes, Grandma beside
Spends all night to watch me
I see her crying.


All life for kids
All life work hard
All life think for us
That is my Grandma.


Yes, I remember
I will take care for my parents
I will share with my brothers and sisters
I will remember what Grandma teach.


 Halloween was a huge experience for Carol that first year. Celebration of Halloween is very different in VietNam. She feared the costumes and ghoulish dress of American children at first, not understanding their origin. However, she found them to be friendly and soon they showed her how much fun Halloween can be and why they dress as they do. Now, she is happy to share and loves the custom to trick or treat to receive free candy. Halloween is very likeable indeed!

The Homeland Of A Young Girl's Heart

Carol loves her country of VietNam, only visiting once since moving to America because it is a long trip and quite expensive to travel that distance for her family. She writes in her scrapbook of her beautiful country filled with many rivers, tropical rain forests that cover the mountains, the rice farmers and the colors of jade that cover the miles of fields, turning them into a picture postcard. She values its deep rich History, crafts and clothing made by hand and its beautiful, happy people and their strong faith.


I am from VietNam
In a warm, happy place in my soul, VietNam lives
I am from the fields
From the wonderful green
And the long mountain ranges
I am from the songs
That are sung by Mom
They help me to sleep
I am from the dreams
To succeed in the future
And to “buy” a nice life
I am from my eyes
With everything I saw
I close my eyes
Think of my life and still, I see VietNam
I am from my Mom
On her thin shoulders
On her small back
I am from my Dad
On his strong hands
On his tired feet
I am from the family tree
From those moments
From my life that I remember
In the visions in my memory.


As Christmas nears, I look forward to sharing this season with Carol. She is Catholic in faith and believes in God. She attends church with her family where her older brother plays the piano for the services.

I have watched her grow in knowledge and confidence in the short six months I have known her. I have felt pride in my new friend as I listen to Carol talk about her love for school, learning and her dreams for her life.

Her parents can be so very proud of this young girl for she is at the brink of a wonderful life full of promise and purpose.

I am an American grandmother who loves the time we spend together and feel great pride in calling Carol my friend.


The Lyrics Of My Heart

by Eugenia S. Hunt
For the Love of Audrey Lyn

View on Amazon

Updated: 09/25/2013, SidewalkPhilosopher
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SidewalkPhilosopher on 10/17/2012

Thank you, glad you enjoyed meeting my friend, Carol! :)

katiem2 on 10/17/2012

What a delightful hero Carol is, beautiful. I feel inspired and uplifted. :)K

SidewalkPhilosopher on 10/12/2012

Terri, Glad you enjoyed meeting Carol! :)

Terri Beal on 10/12/2012

Hey you--this was beautiful and so is Carol (Boo) and all her many talents--God bless her.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 10/09/2012

Okay, I will call them tomorrow...You have a great night, too! :)

Carol on 10/09/2012

I'll see you on Friday. Can you please give them a call tomorrow? So i get more credit for it. Thank you so much again for an amazing artical. You and Mr.Bill have a wonderful night.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 10/09/2012

You are so very welcome, Carol...I am so glad you are pleased with the article...and you should be proud of yourself!! :) See you on Friday!

Carol on 10/09/2012

Thank you so much Ms.jeanie. I am proud of myself appearing in this article. And thank you to everyone.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 10/08/2012

Thank you, Drenda...yes, I do...she is a delightful young lady!

Drenda Whittiker on 10/08/2012

This is a beautiful article and she is so lucky to have you as a friend and I know you consider yourself lucky as well.

Thanks for sharing this.

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