I think all of us moms are holding our babies a little tighter since last week. The news of separating immigrant parents at the border brings tears to my eyes. It’s terrifying to imagine my children taken from me without mercy in a foreign place.
I haven’t talked about this much on the blog or social media. It’s because news, rumors, and opinions keep rolling in from all sides. Sketches of children screaming and basically being imprisoned. Suggestions that many of the children were actually being trafficked. News of abuse of these children. Legislations made and then overturned. Passionate posts from citizens, and subtle government moves while all this is going down.
As a mom, I can feel powerless. I don’t know what to believe. It’s tempting to want to bury my privileged head in the sand, but that’s not the answer. And even if I was a lawyer, could speak another language, or had any training to be able to volunteer and help these kids, I have two small children of my own who depend on me. I feel that there is not much I can do in terms of action. It can make me feel useless in the grand scheme.
Mamas, we feel news like this the most. And while you may think you’re powerless too, there’s actually a lot we can do.
Prayer is powerful. It’s not about pushing an uncaring God to act on behalf of the suffering. Instead, it’s about tapping in to a connection with an all-powerful, all-loving Creator, who sees these problems in our broken world and hurts over them like we do. It’s about helping our own hearts to feel compassion and to open our eyes to opportunities to help.
And it can bring encouragement to a people we may not be able to help otherwise, whether they know of our prayers or not. I’ve experienced times where people have prayed for me, and I never knew until after I felt the comfort they had prayed for.
Like I said, all the different news reports and opinions from different sources make my head spin. I don’t know what to believe in this age of newsfeeds, where people can (and do) post pretty much anything, fact or not.
One of the best things I can do is keep myself informed about what is going on. Ignorance and avoidance lead to too much power in the hands of people who shouldn’t have it. It also helps me to make useful decisions about how and when to help.
Be sure to check for valid sources. Also, I think we could all do to avoid stirring the pot when we are uninformed. I know sometimes passion takes over and we want to weigh in our opinions. But it doesn’t benefit anyone if the information is incorrect.
Make Your Voice Heard
There are so many ways we can voice our opinions to our government. Again, staying informed helps to make sure that we aren’t focusing efforts in the wrong place.
The American Civil Liberties Union makes it very easy to call your representatives about the current family separation crisis. They set up the phone call and give you a script. 5 Calls is another organization that makes it easy to call representatives.
If you have a good grasp of what you’d like to pass along to your representatives, use Resistbot to email, tweet, or otherwise send an unscripted message. I hate phone calls, but love writing, so this was a much easier platform for me to use to contact my representatives.
Send Funds to Trustworthy Charities
Do your homework, and only donate to charities that are trustworthy, that have an established reputation, and have a plan that is addressing the needs of those involved.
Some of the organizations that appear to be doing the most good during this crisis are shared in this article, but two of the top options that come up are RAICES (which provides free or low-cost legal aid to families) and the ACLU (which works for the rights of all Americans and those seeking asylum here as well).
Share your talents and time where you can. It’s tricky with littles. But find things you can do with kids running around, or after they’re in bed. Or even better, get them involved with something they can help with.
Raise Kids Who Care
Our culture doesn’t always praise compassionate and generous spirits. But you can start a movement in your own home. Explain to your kids in age-appropriate terms what’s going on in the world. Show them what you’re doing and encourage them to think about ways they can contribute. Maybe it’s choosing old toys to donate, making cards for kids in need, or volunteering themselves. Pray with them.
These times are scary, and we may feel like there’s nothing we can do. But take charge, speak up where you can, and always pray for our broken world to heal.