~Will they always be so willing to hang out with Mom?~
One of my biggest fears when my older boys were tiny (other than that they would all three gang up and launch a mini mutiny) was that we would grow less connected as they aged. Conventional wisdom states that kids get older and launch into activities of their own, which creates a sort of natural separateness between the parent and child. Happily, I have discovered that my boys and I are more connected as they age and that we increasingly find ways to connect, not just as parent and child, but as people.
On the one hand, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief, knowing that my babies aren’t going to leave their old mom behind anytime soon. On the other hand, it is a huge responsibility to find new and exciting ways to tap into their passions and interests to keep those bonds strong. To add to that, not only do I want to make connections with them, but I want to be sure I am helping them make connections with the world around them while learning skills they will carry into adulthood.
A tall order, for sure.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear me herald once again how traveling helps to make this task possible. As we are encountering new places and new ideas, it is easy to see a door to a new passion open up and invite me to connect things we are seeing as we travel to things we can do at home.
One of these doors blew wide open during a visit to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. We all visited the Center expecting to learn about how courage had triumphed over the evil of slavery in the time of the Civil War. Remembering African slavery during the early American history was sobering, but we all presupposed the happy ending with heroes like Harriett Tubman and Frederick Douglas. We were all, me especially, wholly unprepared to be confronted with the reality of modern day slavery as it was presented on the third floor of the Center.
My discomfort and complete lack of preparation with discussing child slavery and other modern atrocities with my elementary aged kids was as real as it could be. I could have easily shuffled the kids out of that part of the museum. Their eyes had already glazed over at the amount of reading, so it would have been an easy exit. But like a neon dagger, words scribed on the wall jumped out at me.
“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
That’s all it took to force me to dig my head out of the sand and put my money where my mouth was in helping my kids make connections to the world. Although I still tried to shelter them from some of the worst of modern slavery, I did my best to help connect to the faces of slavery around the world. I searched the room for photos and stories of kids about their age, and as they looked into their eyes, I asked them to consider how very different their blessed life in North America was compared to these kids.
We all walked away different, but with no idea what to do about it.
The idea of how we could help rattled around in my head for awhile, but I pushed it to the background easily, as only someone who doesn’t have to worry about such things on a tangible level could. A wandering internet search for 5K events brought the rattling idea right back to the forefront when I discovered Race 2 Rescue, benefitting Rescueher.org. I have always wanted to participate in a Color Run (who wouldn’t?), but to find a run that I could do with the boys that supported a cause that mattered to us was kismet.
~Standing next to a piece of the Berlin Wall~
My head wasn’t the only one where ideas had been rattling. The boys were stoked at the idea of a color infused food fight and race combo, but were even more excited about the idea of raising money to stop slavery. For a group of kids who normally only get excited about a new DS game or extra computer time, I couldn’t have been more pleased (and surprised.) They instantly remembered their experiences at the Underground Railroad Museum, and began excitingly talking about how they could raise money and setting goals. As they twittered along with excitement, I just sat back and watched as three modern day abolitionists appeared before my eyes.
~Abolitionists at Work~
What can you do to help? First go to RescueHer.org and learn more about the staggering statistics of human trafficking. Did you know that 27 million people around the world are in slavery and half of those are children? Did you know that in India it cost more to buy cattle than children? Or to bring it even closer to home: Did you know that 20% of all US slavery is trafficked through my home state of Texas. Slavery is not just a third world problem, and it is not something that happened only in the past. It happens every day in every part of the world-rich and poor, black and white. It is no respecter of humanity and affects us all.
Now, head over to the boys’ Etsy shop where you can purchase a bookmark. Each bookmark is $5 and every dollar will be donated to RescueHer.org. The boys are hoping to raise $500 and you can keep up with their progress in the sidebar. I am so excited that they are able to learn how to use their time and talents to make a difference for others.
Join us in ending human trafficking. Make a difference for just one person. Become a modern day abolitionist!