Saturday, May 17, 2008

The World I Leave to My Children

A little blond haired girl stood on the street corner by a plastic picnic table strewn with plastic cups and a pitcher of lemonade. She wore pink sunglasses. I made Melissa stop. I remember those days. I usually made about 50 cents. My most loyal customers were mom and dad.

She ran up to the car door with a big smile on her face. Melissa asked how much. The little girl giggled and look at us shyly "uhh, I forgot. umm. 25 cents. for one." So we bought two cups of lemonade and the girl was ecstatic. She was adorable.

I just read an article about the children of Somalia. It is considered (by the UN) to be the worst place in the world right now for children to grow up. That's a hard statement to make. I could think of an incredible number of horrific places for children to grow up. But that's not the point. The fact is, its true--Somalia is a terrible place for children right now.

I was thinking as that little girl ran up to our car window "Wow, she's completely unsupervised. This is sort of dangerous. Someone could drive away with her so easily!"

I just read this article about how the children in Somalia are playing "Islamists and Ethiopians" as a version of the beloved "Cowboys and Indians" and they talk about living their dream of becoming fighters one day. (Here's the link).

There are, indeed, true and right fears to face in America when it comes to raising our children...whether in the inner-city or the suburbs. That's the reality of the world we live in. However, we know virtually NOTHING if we compare our national stability with that of other nations. I shudder to think what fathers and mothers are facing in these countries experiencing deep violence and staggering destruction caused by disease and natural disasters.

"Only when man feels himself responsible for the future can he have hope or despair, but when he thinks of himself as the passive victim of an extremely complex technological bureaucracy, his motivation falters and he starts drifting from one moment to the next, making like a long row of randomly chained incidents and accidents." -Henri Nouwen

Do you ever think about what sort of "future" we will hand off to those who follow after us? To the children?

I do... and it drives me to my knees. There is great reason to Hope. There is great reason to Dream. There is great reason and need to fight for these hopes and these dreams.

No comments: