“How is it WITH THE CHILDREN?” This is a traditional greeting between Masai warriors in Africa, the actual phrase is “Kasserian ingera.”

What does it mean for one warrior to ask another “How is it with the children?” Does it put the context of being a warrior into perspective? That, whatever it is we’re warring about, is not focused on a change in politics, but an investment in the well-being of children.

I was going to say “an investment in our future,” but the statement, “children are our future…” is a misnomer. Children are our present as well. Another African proverb reads, “The child who is not embraced by its village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” The least engaged in any relationship demands the most investment; as this proverb points out, that includes children/youth in our communities.

The basis for how we respond to “Kasserian ingera” is truly indicative of our inner lives. If instead we asked about the economy instead of children, the goals—even the purpose—of our lives would change.  Indeed, when we don’t invest in children, they will burn down the house for warmth. This is evident in the high costs we pay (financially and socially) in our penal systems. Perhaps the country most focused on its economy would be the United States and it has the highest per capita investment in prisons and military than any other country in the world.

One could draw the conclusion that the less we focus on kasserian ingera, the more our economy falters.

The traditional response to kasserian ingera is “All the children are well,” “Zonke izingane ziphilile.”

Who is most capable of telling you how the children are in your community? Who has the pulse of the least accepted child? The most vulnerable people? If we were to go to the corners of our villages to make sure it is well with the children there, we would indeed find the key to a flourishing community.

No community will flourish until we can answer “ALL the children are well.”


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