The other night, I was sitting on my couch, drinking a glass of pino grigio, watching the CBS Evening News. My sweet (and way too good for me) husband was in the kitchen, hustling and bustling to prepare dinner for us. As the news stories churned on and on, spewing gloom and doom about debt ceilings and helicopters full of our troops being shot down, I tried to focus on the tantalizing aromas floating out to me from the kitchen and the sweet, tangy wine dancing on my tongue. Working in news will do all but completely numb you to the pain and heartbreak of the world, so as I comfortably lay on that couch, I tried my best to channel that familiar apathetic mindset.
Just as I was adequately removing myself from the news, Scott Pelley popped up on the screen in a live shot from Somalia. He was reporting from a dark, dusty refugee camp, filled with groups of sad, emaciated children — 3.5 million children in Somalia are starving to death at this very moment. Before I could change the channel, I was awash in a sea of my own tears. I was breaking down, on my fluffy couch, thousands of miles away from these kids, and all I could think to myself was, But God, why them? Why? They’re just children! The story really hit home when the camera zoomed in on a tiny toddler, about the same age as my very good friend’s sweet daughter, whose arms were only a few centimeters around. In a matter of seconds I went to completely and happily removed from the situation, mindlessly enjoying the luxuries of hot food and cold drink, to sitting on the edge of my couch sweeping away tear after tear. But they’re just children! I pleaded with God in my head. Please God, you have to save them!
The next morning I came into work, those small, helpless children pushed into the back of my mind by the morning’s responsibilities. I pulled an apple out of my bag, and started to go through the news stories that had piled up on my Google reader since the last time I opened it. In an effort to get all of the world news out of the way before I clicked on my Awkward Family Photos tab, I sleepily clicked on the CNN tab. The first headline that appeared almost made me spit out apple chunks all over the screen:
Not even 24 hours after I learned about the children dying of starvation in Somalia, I read about kids, kids, in America falling victim to dangerous eating disorders as young as seven years old. God! Why? But they’re just children!
There are children starving to death all around the world because they physically do not have access to food or clean water, and in America, kids are doing it on purpose. Their mental states have become so fearful of becoming “fat” that they go to scary lengths to avoid it. Oh my, God! What is wrong with American society? What are we, as parents, as teachers, as members of the media, as mentors, as fellow human beings, saying to our children to cause this? What could we do to change this? We can’t let this happen anymore! They’re just children!
SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE. It all starts with you, and me, and what we tell our children. That they’re loved. That they’re valuable. That they’re smart. They’re talented. They’re beautiful. They’re fearfully and wonderfully made. They are worth more than this broken world would have them believe they are.
I don’t know what else to say about this. I’m just really sad.