All of Them Are “Our Children”
A couple of weeks ago, a friend posted a picture of a family sleeping on the street, with the following sentence in bold caps:
THESE ARE AMERICANS ON THE STREET…AND YOU ARE OUTRAGED OVER REFUGEES?
I was a bit shocked by this “us versus them” sentiment and wrote, “I think we can feel outrage for ALL human suffering. One does not outweigh the other.”
One person responded: “You’ve got to take care of your own children first.”
Such simple words, but they hit me hard. I’ve been thinking about them ever since, trying to figure out why they bother me so much.
Maybe part of it is because I’m a teacher. When you teach, you get to know your students personally — and all the children in your class become your children. You listen to them, care for them, spend sleepless nights worrying about some of them. And if you work in a school with a strong sense of community, all the students in the entire school become your children. With this experience comes the realization that love is not finite, and the more you open your heart, the more love you have to give. Your growing sense of empathy reaches beyond borders.
Love should not be limited to “your own children.” All children deserve love and caring. There should be no boundaries — and no ranking system — to caring for others. Not in our homes, not our classrooms, not in our communities, and not in our countries. The world is our home and all the children of the world belong to all of us. Although we may feel helpless because we can’t help everyone who needs it, the first step to making change is opening our eyes and hearts to the needs of all people around us. Partitioning our hearts by prioitizing the needs of others based on “us versus them” hardens us and makes us smaller, weaker people. We live in a global, interconnected world and if our caring is limited by artificial boundaries, we’ll never heal our planet.
Do I think we should help the homeless in our streets? Of course. But that doesn’t negate the need to help refugees. Our world is aching with people who need help. And one child is never more important than another. Ever.
BEAUTIFUL Carla! As U2 sings “There is no them, there’s only US”
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Pasha! U2 got it right!
As an instructor this is the one thing that impacted me the most, love for all the children. My very first student was a young Haitian girl who was sleeping at the back of the class. Trying everything from giving her time, cajoling and finally threatening her with discipline failed. I later learned that she had discovered the decapitated body of her mother in the trunk of their car. Poor girl. She got straight “A’s” for the 4 years she slept in my class (she listened to everything being said) and later came back to thank me. I didn’t want or need thanks….it was the least I could do (she married, had a baby, and went on to become happy – happy is success).
I agree with your definition of success, David. She was lucky to have you 🙂
Spot on dear Carla! Love you
Thank you for reading Jannemarie! Love you too!