Sunday, May 17, 2009

Building strong children

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
~Frederick Douglass

As I write this blog post, my kids are happily playing upstairs. Their bellies are full and they have no worries about their next meal. They have an overabundance of clothes, books and toys. There is a solid roof over their heads. If they are sick tomorrow, I could take them to the doctor. They have two parents who love them with all their heart and soul. In so many ways beyond their imagination, my children are blessed. It would be hard for them to fathom a reality where this was not the case.

Yet for so many children in the United States and around the world, there is no imagining. This is their reality. Every day is a struggle for even the most basic of needs. I can't pretend to know what its like to be a child struggling with extreme poverty here in the U.S. or in an impoverished country. But I do know what it is like to be poor. I know what it means to be hungry. I know what it means to worry about what tomorrow will bring.

When my dad left our family, he left it in shambles. We were lucky to have a house given to us by my Grandma. That's a blessing most people can't even imagine. What we didn't have was very much money. My Mom made $12,000 a year to support three people -- which would actually make us rich by most third world countries. But we were in the U.S. and we struggled. We stretched our food and our clothes to make them last. We had no health insurance for several years -- and of course I managed to need emergency services twice in that time. Its a true testament to my Mom that my brother and I are now both college graduates.

We are two of the lucky ones. Not all stories have a happy ending. I wish that every single child in this world could go to sleep happy and content like my children. While I know this is probably a reality not for my time, I try to help even in small ways. There are hundreds of ways that you can get involved. Right now, I am focusing my energies on two of them: Compassion International and Project Archangel Julie: School Feeding Program in Maai Mahiu, Kenya.

As you tuck your children in tonight, think about a child across the world -- or even down the road -- who is not as lucky. Then do something about it.


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