Other People’s Children

I have two children of my own. On a regular basis I breathe a sigh of relief and think, “I am so glad I only have two, because caring for any more than that feels like too much.”

It’s easy for me to ascribe to that notion because, generally speaking, my community does a great job of caring for their children. I focus on taking care of mine and they focus on taking care of theirs. It’s neat and tidy. And sure, we’re a “village” and we support one another in parenthood and life, BUT the actual care and love is provided by us, the parents.

In my community, rather in the United States, we are privileged parents.It’s easy to forget about the privilege we exist in because parenting itself doesn’t often feel very easy. So, we can find ourselves feeling disadvantaged at times. But that is certainly a delusion. To exist in an environment that’s safe, resourced and established for children to flourish is assumed to be our right.

But, then we’re reminded of what parenting looks like outside of our western reality.

In this picture taken on Tuesday April 4, 2017, Syrian man Abdul-Hamid Alyousef, 29, carries his twin babies who were killed during the suspected chemical weapons attack, in Khan Sheikhoun town, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. Alyousef also lost his wife, two brothers, nephews and many other family members in the attack that claimed scores of his relatives. The death toll from a suspected chemical attack on a northern Syrian town rose to 72 on Wednesday as activists and rescue workers found more terrified survivors hiding in shelters near the site of the harrowing assault, one of the deadliest in Syria’s civil war. (AP Photo/Alaa Alyousef)

 

And if we allow ourselves to imagine what it would be like to parent in such a destitute place, we’re crushed. We’re humbled and saddened.

I begin to wonder… is it really just my two children that I am responsible for?

Is there really no response required of me when OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN are under attack?

When parents in other communities have no resources to care for their children, because of chaos beyond their control, do I share my own?

When parents are destroyed by brutal civil war and unable to care for themselves or their families, who do their children then belong to?

Us. Their children belong to us. 

There is no such thing as “other people’s children”. They all belong to us – the privileged few who are not under attack. Who have resources, be them pennies or Benjamin’s, to take care of the children of this world.

And the moment we get distracted (understandably so) by the politics and ideologies, we easily lose sight of the reality of what and who is at stake here. So, let us remind each other. What’s going on is this – innocent people in Syria are trapped in . Children are dying. Parents are dying. The community needs help.

Our Response

Where do we begin? How do we turn our willingness to care for these children into something productive? How do we respond effectively?

We look for gracious humanitarian responses that are already in place. We listen to those on the ground for updates and needs. And then we ask how we can support them with tangible resources. Because in this specific instance in Syria, love looks like food, medicine and shelter.

The group that my family is supporting is Preemptive Love. Preemptive Love came on my radar last year through friends and trusted activists in my circle. Their values are focused on loving regardless of religion and politics, showing up to meet real needs and then getting out of the way to allow others to make their own future. They provide heart surgeries for children, emergency relief for victims of ISIS, education for at-risk children, grants for small business owners and peacemaking efforts in war torn zones.

They are on the ground in Syria caring for the victims of the chemical weapon attack earlier this week. They responded to the attack immediately by evacuating approximately families from the area of attack on Tuesday. They literally have the name of every victim of the attack and are there to help.

These brave people are equipped with resources, experience, partnerships and love. I am backing them. To learn more about their coalition – values, solution, impact, team – head over to the Preemptive Love website. There are two videos that their President and Founder Jeremy Courtney posted on Facebook Live describing their response on Tuesday and and an update on the impact of last night’s US missile strikes in Syria.

Click Here to support Preemptive Love with a one-time donation

Friends, I urge you to put yourselves in the shoes of the people living in Syria. You must to separate the politics from the humans who are being trampled on and destroyed and then ask yourself, “whose children are these to care for?”

They are ours. Let’s get to work.

Peace and Love,

Natalie

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