These, Our Children

April 6, 2012

We were talking, some of us on the learning tour, about why the children that we’ve met in Uganda have had such an effect on us. I said – as I have so very many times in the past – that I believe that people who are parents are more likely than others to be moved by children like these, and by all children, by the plight of children, by the ways in which the world can hurt children. Maybe this isn’t fair to say, I said – to a small clutch of people, all of whom parents – but I think that it’s true. And the reason that I think it’s true is this: for me, every child is my child. Could be my child. My child in the past, my child in the future, my child in some other future, my child in some other life for which they might have been destined but for the whim or caprice or blessing of God. “That could be my child, ” I think. “That child could be mine.” I think that this is true for most parents: if you’re really looking, really paying attention, every child is your child.

And so you feel everything that you feel on their behalf – hurt, fear, anxiety, hope – right in the heart, right in the gut.

So I said, and so I did. I do.

May it compel me to do more, to be more, for them, and for my own children, and for all children.

—–

It’s banal to say that we need to save the children. It’s less banal to say that we need – we want, we should want – to save our children. Which is who these children are – they’re no less the children of mothers and fathers and grandparents and siblings who love them than are ours. So. I’m not saying that you have to work to save children (or moms, or families), just that, maybe, if you have a minute, you could think about them. (And if you want to do something — The CARE Action Network, or CAN, is a group of CARE supporters working to educate our nation’s leaders about issues of global poverty. Please check them out.)

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    { 7 comments }

    The Mommy Psychologist April 9, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I completely agree with promoting awareness of global poverty. However, there are millions of children in the United States who go to bed starving each night and are unrecognized.

    Her Bad Mother April 9, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Global poverty affects children all over the world, including the US – I don’t think that my stories here deny that, nor do I think that drawing attention to the circumstances of children around the world undermines the cause of helping children at home. I would actually argue that drawing attention to global poverty provides us with more opportunity to consider the plight of needy children at home. We’re all in this together.

    Mary Thomas April 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Beautifully said. There should be no lines, no categories or less-deserving or more-deserving distinctions when it comes to our children in need. All of them, everywhere living in this world of ours should be our priority.

    Mo Weinhardt April 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I am not a parent, I’m an educator who deeply loves and cares for the children I’ve been privileged enough to work with over the years. I share your sentiments, and agree that we are all in this together. Whether they live in the U.S. or Timbuktu, all children deserve love, shelter, food, education and more. It just so happens it’s easier to help those who live closer to us, and every small act of kindness goes a long way.

    I traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in November 2010, and have never experienced any place like it. Every moment was juxtaposed with intense suffering the likes of which most people here can’t imagine, as well as inspiring joy, laughter and resilience. I hope you take whatever time you need to process your trip to Uganda – speaking for myself, I found re-entry to be the most difficult part. I look forward to hearing your stories.

    marc April 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    It is simple heart breaking. What more can I say. It shows how far we still have to go and the problems we face here in North america is nothing compared to what is going on in some parts of the world

    Kate April 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I’ve actually been talking to my husband about the same thing over the course of the last few weeks. Ever since I’ve become a mother, my complete world view has changed when it comes to children. In fact my exact words were, “I didn’t just give birth to V, it’s like I gave birth to the whole world.” because we do see each child through the lens of a mother.

    christine April 16, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I’m not a parent and the plight of children always tugs at my heart strings. Not necessarily fair to suggest those that are parents are more likely to be moved by the pictures above. x

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