This I Believe

Franchesca - Houston, Texas
Entered on December 23, 2008

“Children are the future and hope of humanity, they must grow up away from war and all forms of violence.” – Pope John XXIII

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My father once told me that there are forms of violence that do not hurt the body, but the soul. He said that yelling and bullying may not leave bruises on the skin, but they leave insecurities and pain that retard spiritual confidence and growth. He said that a world of prejudice and ignorance arises from misinterpretations of the words “Our Father” and from our dependency on Hollywood to spoon-feed us our opinions and beliefs.

I believe in the power of children.

I believe in the power of our race’s children, who do not see black or white, rich or poor, Protestant or Catholic. I believe in the power of our race’s children, who do not only accept God’s Kingdom with open arms, but its inhabitants just as openly. I believe in the power of our race’s children, who do not see a difference between “friend” and “amigo.”

Pope John XXIII did not need to specify the meaning of “children” just as we do not need to specify the meaning of “Our Father.” All children are the future and hope of humanity. All people are God’s people. As my father says, “He who does not love his black neighbor as much as his white one cannot call himself a follower of Christ.”

This summer, I learned that the word “compassion” is bigger than tossing money in a bucket. I learned that it is bigger than a documentary on the Travel Channel, and—dare I say it—it is bigger than what my television would have me believe.

Those children probably won’t remember me; my face is probably a distant memory as I write this, like a storybook whose pictures got washed away in the rain, or a photograph you stashed away, and you can’t remember where you put it.

But if they take the time we spent with them, and channel their joy into creating a world where “I love you” encompasses all aspects of human life, then maybe, and only maybe, will I have the power of the human child.