Are we a spoiled nation that feels entitled? Do we sigh and cry for what is happening worldwide? Or are we just too busy to care? Recently I read three different stories of children and the things that stress them. It was eye-opening.
The first one was from the newspaper “The Jordan Times.” The article, from 2013, called “Syrian Children Dream of Returning to Their Homes,” is a story about families fleeing Syria. It reports that a large percentage of those seeking refuge in Jordan are children.
Jordan has opened up their arms to give refuge to those fleeing from their war-torn neighbor Syria. The article gives accounts of several of these children who fled with their parents. Mohammad Adnan, 17, talks about what it was like to leave his homeland of Syria, leave his friends and his home. These children fled with their parents, being uprooted from their homes, friends, and yes, their own bed (archived link ).
The second story I read, also from 2013, was called “Just for a Second, Syrian Pupils Forget the Hell Outside.” The AFP article is about the children who were still in Syria, what the conditions were like and what the children faced. The article describes how the kids attended school at night during the beginning of the Syrian conflict because it was much safer. Sadly, as they sat through class, they could hear the horrors of shelling outside, daily. The school was in an underground facility. The teacher often led them in a song to block out sounds of the shelling going on outside, to help take their minds off what was happening and to help calm their fears. After they had been taught and fed, they headed home, but not in groups. They traveled alone because a group would make them a prime target for killing. (You can read more about this in this archived link. Since then many schools have reopened).
The third story was such a contrast to the Syrian children. It was a story about a 10-year-old American boy from Boston. While he was trying to avoid bedtime, he got upset and called the police on his parents. When I saw this, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief! What a contrast after reading about the Syrian children and what they were going through!
The Syrian children certainly have different things to deal with compared to the 10-year-old boy in Boston, and what is happening to the Syrian children is not the 10-year-old boy’s fault. Nevertheless, there is something terribly wrong when a child will call the police on his parents over such a minor issue as bedtime.
Are we teaching our children empathy toward others, or are we so laden with guilt or tiredness because of our own busy schedules that we take the easy way out and try to give them everything they want? Doing so makes them very self-centered children.
God tells us to sigh and cry for what is going on around us (Ezekiel 9:4 Ezekiel 9:4And the LORD said to him, Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the middle thereof.
American King James Version×). We cannot do this if we are constantly busy. We need to take the time to read and be aware of what is going on outside of our world. We also need to teach our children how blessed they are. We should be encouraging them to pray for the children around the world, who do not have it as good as they do. Help your children to be aware of others outside of their own small world.
God is very aware of what these children are going through in Syria and all around the world. He demonstrated His love for children: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14 Matthew 18:14Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
American King James Version×). And again in the Gospel of Mark: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:14-16 Mark 10:14-16 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said to them, Suffer the little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.
American King James Version×, King James Version).
There is good news in all of this! God’s world is coming, and it will change the whole face of this earth! No child will live in fear! All children will be taught to respect, love and show honor toward their parents and toward others as this 10-year-old boy needs to be taught!
In the meantime, let us all be aware of the suffering in this world, and teach our children to care and pray for others. Teach them that they are not entitled, but are required to love God and care for others. Let us all pray “Thy Kingdom Come,” not only for the sake of all of humankind but especially for our children.