What does a child need in order to grow and thrive and contribute to our world?
Love and more love. The earlier the better. A child who receives loving, responsive care in the critical early years of life has the foundation for a happy, healthy future. That child is able to grow ready to learn, ready to love and ready to care for others.
What does a society—from the smallest village to the world at large—need in order to thrive? Generations of such children.
Imagine a world filled with young people who’ve been given love and encouragement at an early age, who’ve enjoyed healthy development, who’ve succeeded in school, who are mentally and physically healthy, who can make friends and love others, who can contribute to the world around them? What would that world look like?
For one thing, there would be more of an equal playing field, rather than the social inequities that plague us now. A world filled with neglected children, whose lack of loving care has set them up for failure, increases the gap. Such children develop more slowly. They struggle academically. They lack the ability to get along with other people. Unless help comes, they have a slim chance of succeeding in life.
It’s a heartfelt truth that every child is worth saving, but there’s another reason to pay attention to society’s smallest members—it can make the world a better place. Disadvantaged children, who are cared for can recover. In fact, they can do better than that. If we reach them early enough, they can blossom.
We’ve seen it in our own programs, and now recent studies confirm it: neglected children who are offered consistent love and attention tend to turn into remarkable human beings, with unusual compassion for others, inner strength, empathy and resilience. It’s an extraordinary outcome—and it certainly helps explain the success of OneSky programs!
Nurtured children have a good shot at a rewarding life—to make friends, get an education, make a living, create a family, nurture their own children. When we offer neglected children loving care, we help build a generation that is able to fully engage in their communities and in the world. A generation that is able to give back.
Shift a society’s resources toward that pool of lost children and it’s possible not only to transform millions of young lives, but to transform the people around them, and ultimately, to create a healthier, safer, more peaceful global family.
Cared-for children have what it takes to care for the next generation, to pass along what they’ve been given. As a grandfather who participates in our program for children left behind in rural villages said, “Children are the eternal hope of every village.”
Let’s work not just to make a better world for our children, but to make better children for our world.
All the children who are held and loved will know how to love others.
Spread these virtues in the world. Nothing more need be done.
— Mencius c.300 BC