Waterbrook Press, 2007
Over the years I’ve had a variety of experiences with children. I started off as one, as we all do; babysat them as a teenager; took children’s literature courses in library school; had two children of my own; and wrote the text for several as-yet-unpublished picture books. Yet I don’t think I ever really thought about children – except in the sense of enjoying them, engaging them through library programs, or parenting them to the best of my ability (with liberal doses of heavenly guidance, to be sure). That is, until I read Dr. Wess Stafford’s book, Too Small to Ignore: Why Children are the Next Big Thing. This book turned my beliefs about children upside-down.
Too Small to Ignore should be required reading by church leaders, children’s advocates, parents, and Christian adults. Stafford, the president of Compassion International, is a humble, yet passionate proponent for children around the world. It’s his goal in this book to prompt a paradigm shift in the rest of us, that we too would see the value and importance of children and be motivated to change our actions (more often thoughtless than malevolent – though sadly, the latter can also be true) toward them.
Stafford’s premise is that children matter to God. He supports this with a number of Scripture references. Of course, if children matter to God, they also matter to Satan, whose absolute hatred of the Almighty motivates him to attack that which is closest to God’s heart. Children have no power, no voice in this world, and so Stafford reminds us that, if we call ourselves believers, it is our duty to take up their cry, work for the betterment of their world, and protect them from preventable pain. And even if our own resources or mobility are limited, we can still do something for the children within our sphere. We can get down on their level, make eye contact and smile; we can offer a kind word, prophecy into their lives, or talk to them about Jesus.
This book contains far more than I can tell you in a few short paragraphs. I hope you will read it. Before you do, pray that God will use it to change your heart, your attitude, your thinking toward children. Pray that He will show you what to do with this newfound information. I truly believe that if we all acted on its principles, we could create a ripple effect that would change not only ourselves, but our church, our community, and the world, to make it a better place for “the least of these” on planet earth.