Monday, April 18, 2011


I was reading a book with my son on Saturday. He just turned 5 in February but he is unreasonably good at reading and comprehension. So my husband took him to the library on Saturday while me and the toddler napped and they came home with a book that The Hubs said might be over his head but would be good comprehension practice for him. It is called The Transcontinental Railroad and is a book about how the Transcontinental Railroad was made from Sacramento California to Nebraska in the US. There are LOTS of big topics in this book. The manual labor involved, taking land from Native Americans via force and where to build the railroad (to either enhance or inhibit the slave trade as we made our way westward). Since the Civil War is one of the topics in the book, we got to discuss slavery in a pretty big way.

Let me just say, explaining slavery to a 5 year old is complicated! He is a very bright boy but to kids I think slavery is just so out in left field for their little minds. Especially if they grow up in loving and caring families. Plus the definition of slavery,
  • bondage: the state of being under the control of another person
sounds a lot like being a child. Being under control of someone else. Well, isn't that JUST like being a kid? So I had to really think about it. There are other definitions like working for little or no pay or working under inhumane situations. BUT none of them quite fit for me. 

So I had to figure out a way to explain to my son what slavery was. In a real sense, who are these children we are working with will  be? Why do we need to go if his understanding of slavery is pretty simple and by all accounts accurate according to the dictionary?

I kind of narrowed it down in my mind now I think. Slavery is not just simply being under the control of someone. Like I said, my children, are under my control. But they are under my loving control and direction. They have FREEDOMS:

1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

Both my own morals (obviously influenced by my background and sheer wealth when compared to the rest of the world) and my country indicate that I can not sell my children into an abusive workforce. So to me the lack of Freedom is what defines a slave. These children do not have the freedom my children have. They do not get to be in a safe home or have a safe place to sleep. Their parents can't make sure of it like I can for my kids nor can the government (especially as the area gets more remote) come in and force child slaves to be released. They do not have the freedom to choose their interest, no freedom of education, no freedom of sleep or even the freedom to eat as frequently as they need to eat (many eating a small meal once a day). No freedom to have the health care and medications they need if they get sick. No freedom to refuse diving down deep into Lake Volta to untangle nets because there is danger in the water and danger above the water when you decide you don't want to do it. There is just no choice or freedom in any of it. 

My children have the absolute freedom to pursue their dreams! They have parents who are educated and who can protect them and keep them safe. And while they may not necessarily have "freedom" in some ways in childhood, they are under caring and loving direction. And as they get older, they are more released to freedom. These children will never have the same opportunities if they remain enslaved. They will likely never get off the lake, never learn English or go to school, never have money to make a better way of life and will learn that enslaving child workers is okay because we LEARN behaviors we grow up around And THAT is why it is important.

God wants ALL children to have that freedom. Every last one of them no matter where they happen live or how much money they happen to make. No matter which parents they get or if they are orphans. And I am asking and will continue to ask that you find a way to help in achieving this! A new school will be paramount in getting children out of slaver and creating even more advocates for the children on Lake Volta. MORE educated children who are loved and nurtured and who can grow up and make an impact on their communities. This is important because they deserve the same things out kids deserve. And WE can help that happen. Please keep praying, please donate, please help me collect items for the Auction in June, please have your kids collect pennies or collect school supplies.

Just don't... figure there is no way for you to help. If you want to help Tia, JD and I will find a way that you can help.

Much love.

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