This is a picture of a recent assignment that Tori completed for her first grade class. Each student needed to explain and illustrate basic rights of all children. They chose five that they thought were important to include in their project. Under the title, “Children’s Rights” Tori chose to include: the right to eat, the right to clean water, the right to have a name, the right to health, and the right to learn. These were the rights that she felt were most important for all children everywhere.

As a first grader, I don’t think I ever thought about children’s rights around the world. I took it for granted that I had a name, food and water, a doctor’s office to visit,and a school to attend.

During the 80s, while I was growing up in the U.S. things were different in El Salvador. A friend recently told us of an experience that made a huge impact on his life. He remembers being in school in a town outside of San Salvador and hearing gunshots. He remembers that government soldiers and guerrillas were exchanging gunfire right outside of the school’s front door. He remembers diving to the floor, and he remembers the exact date.

There are many stories like this around El Salvador, and many who don’t take basic rights for granted. I’m glad that this topic is included in my daughter’s Spanish social studies curriculum. It gave us a great opportunity to talk about the rights of children all over the world. We also talked about how many children do not have a safe place to go, or clean food and water, or even a name.

Our world is connected today and we can read what is happening in Asia, and Africa, and South America with the click of a mouse. We know that children are being deprived of their basic human rights right now.  Human beings are valuable. They are made in God’s image. They are His creation. Yet great injustices are happening. Children are going hungry, and live in conditions where they cannot grow and play the way that my kids do. Some children are being forced into prostitution, and others have no access to healthcare and clean water because of factors outside of their control.

God cares about these children who aren’t receiving mercy and justice in their lives. He cares about their physical suffering, and He cares deeply about their spiritual suffering. He wants to use us to serve a world that is in need of knowing Him…body and soul.

As a follower of Christ, I am glad to be part of being Him to the world. That looks different for all of us. But, as my daughter reminded me, no one is too small to play their part in bringing God’s mercy and justice to the world.

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