"HOW ARE THE CHILDREN?"
Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe
was considered to have more warriors more fearsome or more intelligent
than the mighty Masai. It is perhaps surprising then, to learn
the traditional greeting that passed between Masai Warriors. "Kasserian
ingera" one would always say to another.
It means "And, how are the children?"
It is still the traditional greeting among the Masai, acknowledging
the high value that the Masai always placed on their children's well
being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always
give the traditional answer "All the children are well."
Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, the priorities
of protecting the young, the powerless are in place, that Masai society
has not forgotten its reason for being, its proper functions and responsibilities.
"All the children are well" means that life is good. It means
that the daily struggles of existence, even among a poor people, do
not preclude caring for its young.
I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children's
welfare if in America we took to greeting each other with this same
daily question: "And, how are the children?" I wonder if we
heard that question and passed it along to each other a dozen times
a day, if it would begin to make a difference in the reality of how
children are thought of and cared for in this country?
I wonder if every adult among us, parent and nonparent alike, felt
an equal weight for the daily care and protection of all the children
in our town, in our state, in our country. I wonder if we could
truly say without hesitation, "the children are well, yes, all the
children are well."
What would change if the President began every press conference, every
public appearance, by answering the question, "And how are the children,
Mr. President?" If every governor of every state answered the
same question at every press conference, "And how are the children,
Governor? Are they all well?"
Reverend Patrick T. O'Neill
What would change if every teacher, every day, was asked the question,
"And, the children that you teach today? Are they all well?"
Imagine if every parent, on each and every day, was asked the very
same question, "And, your children? How are your children? Are
they all well?" Imagine what would change if, truly, all our
children were well.
Perhaps, the better question would be "What wouldn't change?"
The child would tell us "Teach me, for you know what I have yet to
Trust me, for I know what you have forgotten, and are longing to remember."
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