by Steve Goodier
There are few things in this life more difficult to experience than the loss of one’s child. Jim Wallis, in Who Speaks for God, tells about a sad and terrifying incident that occurred during the tragic war in Sarajevo not too many years back. A reporter who was covering the violence in the middle of the city saw a little girl fatally shot by a sniper. The reporter threw down his pad and pencil and rushed to the aid of a man who was now holding the child. He helped them both into his car and sped off to a hospital.
“Hurry, my friend,” the man urged, “my child is still alive.” A moment or two later he pleaded, “Hurry, my friend, my child is still breathing.” A little later he said, “Hurry, my friend, my child is still warm.”
When they got to the hospital, the young girl was gone. “This is a terrible task for me,” the distraught man said to the reporter. “I must go tell her father that his child is dead. He will be heartbroken.” The reporter was amazed. He looked at the grieving man and said, “I thought she was YOUR child.” The man replied, “No, but aren’t they all our children?”
Aren’t they all our children? Those who live under our roof and those who reside with another family? Those to whom we are related as well as those whom we have never known?
Aren’t they all our children? Those on our side of the border as well as those on the other side? Those of our nation no more or less than those of another?
Aren’t they all our children? Those who worship like us and those who worship differently? Those who look like us and those who do not?
Aren’t they all our children? The well-educated and the under-educated? The well- fed and the under-fed? Those who are secure and those who are at risk?
Aren’t they all our children? Aren’t they all our responsibility? ALL of them? Ours to nurture? Ours to protect? Ours to love?
I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that the survival of our world hinges on the answer to that question. To say they are NOT all our children is to condemn the world to more struggle – family against family, group against group, nation against nation.
Aren’t they all our children? If we say yes, can we ever again pit them against each other? “If we have no peace,” said Mother Teresa, “it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Aren’t they all our children? There may be no greater question for our generation. And how we answer that question will determine the shape of our world for years to come.