What would happen if we planted a seed in sand from a sandbox?
What if we buried the seed into a type of sand that is devoid of nutrients and is incapable of holding water?
Would it grow?
We know the answer to this: no.
We know that a seed needs nutrients, both from the soil and from the sun above. We know that there is a perfect balance of nutrients in soil that helps seeds grow stronger, faster, and healthier than seeds planted in anything less.
Even with this perfect soil, we know that seeds also need water and sunlight. They need carbon dioxide and safety from harsh conditions, like wind and fire.
All of these things contribute to a healthy seed that will eventually grow into a healthy plant.
What if we applied the same concepts to children?
Young children are just like seeds, only more complex and more precious than anything that a plant could ever compare to.
Just like a seed needs nutrient-dense soil to thrive, young people need certain environmental factors to help them thrive in life as well.
Children's health, both physical health and mental health, depends on so much more than the seed with which they began.
A safe home environment, unconditional love and support, and community resources all serve as protective factors against the harsh realities of the world.
But what if a child doesn't have all of those things? Will he still blossom into his God-given potential?
Like a seed with proper nutrients, sunshine, and water, he will struggle to be all that he is capable of.
Unfortunately, this doesn't only apply to parents who neglect their children.
In fact, this happens to a lot of children with parents who are desperately fighting to provide even the very basics for their children.
At-risk children come in many forms, though most often in low-income families and minority families.
Vulnerable children often come from love but are vulnerable to risk factors that are beyond their control.
Latino children and African-American children, for example, are more likely to be born into poverty, even in high-income countries. Their parents are more likely to be working multiple jobs, which often strips them of the opportunity to teach these valuable lessons to their young, vulnerable children. Their school districts likely do not provide helpful resources, like books and after-school programs.
What's worse, many community-based programs only focus on dependent children coming from abuse or neglect, leaving many otherwise deserving at-risk kids by the wayside.
So how do we help all of these children flourish with their God-given potential?
I say that we can and there are a few ways that we can do so together.
It begins with early intervention.
The earlier that we support our children with nourishment, love, and resources, the more easily they can grow into healthy adults.
I've personally begun this mission to support children's mental health with my children's books in hopes of instilling in young children all over the world a sense of self-worth.
Not only that, but I've committed to donating books to community-based programs that serve low-income families, at-risk youth, and dependent children with no resources other than what the programs are giving them.
I propose that we rally together to support our children and our future, one book at a time.
Won't you join me?
If you're interested in supporting a generation of young people, here are a few ways you can participate:
- Order one of my children's books in bulk, knowing that for every 10 purchased, one will be donated.
- Visit your public library and search the kids' books section for inspiring children's books. If they do not have any, then recommend a few (including My BIG Book of Beginnings!).
- Search for children's ebooks that you can download and read anytime. This will come in handy when you are out with your little one and need something imaginative and uplifting to keep them busy.
- Support the arts and history by opting for an illustrated book based on a true story.
- Create a nice collection of your own at home that can be shared with your own children or family at any time.
- Check back in with me here for updates on the latest poem or short story available for online viewing or free download.
- Download the free sing along and start to impact the children in your life with inspiring words and lyrics.
- Share this with a friend who has young kids.
- Recommend this to your child's daycare/preschool for early childhood education.
- Leave a review at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Amazon.com