Growing up in a family with 5 other siblings, justice was all about me getting the same amount of cookies as my brothers.
Lord help us all if one child got more pieces of candy than the others. For my parents, I’m sure managing “justice” was a full-time job. We were extremely vocal is there was even a hint of unfairness in the distribution of sweet goods.
So for parents to think about stepping in the world of social justice can seem daunting. Managing the demands and schedules of tiny humans who at times believe the world revolves completely around them and their Fisher Price toys is a very demanding task.
It is possible.
It is possible to do justice,
to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God.
It is possible to raise a generation that is aware of children, women and men that are enslaved in sexual exploitation.
It is possible to create a force of world changers who don’t just care, but also act.
And this doesn’t happen on accident.
This is a word for moms. The mom that can’t imagine adding one more thing to her plate. The mom who can hardly get her child to share her Barbies with the neighbors. The mom who is overwhelmed with getting from one meal and one nap to the next.
Your life and your role is unspeakably important.
And I’d like to introduce a grain of thought that you can live for justice actively with your kids.
But it may look different from the way I live. In fact, it will look different from mine. I’m in a totally different season of life. Your ways will look different, but your impact will also be different, and perhaps greater. In having children, your impact opportunity is exponential. Think of that! It’s not all about how much you accomplish; it’s about multiplying your compassion many times over in your children’s lives.
That’s the kind of math we need in this world.
Moms (and Dads, of course), here’s some things to think about as you approach living an active life seeking justice in your community.
You are not separate from your family.
Whatever you choose to do, do it with your family, with your children. Teach your children about these realities. Don’t hide the realities of human trafficking from them.
Research child trafficking. Read. Watch. Become aware.
Become aware of the realities of child trafficking and prostitution in America and in your very city.
Missing child or runaway report? That child will most likely end up in child prostitution or some form of sexual exploitation.
Foster care and social services? Most of them have gone through some sort of trauma, many of them from sexual and/or physical abuse and are at risk to traffickers and pimps.
As a mother, as a parent, you will have an understanding and anger inside of you that is more direct and empathizing than those without children.
But don’t pursue this out of guilt or revenge; pursue it because you know love and justice are two sides of the same coin.
Allow your heart to melt. Your actions will naturally follow as an overflow of your heart.
And then share with your children. Appropriately, of course, but you can be a good judge of how much they can process at what age.
But whatever you do, don’t hide them from it. Because otherwise we will one day have a generation of sincerely ignorant and insensitive adults who turn their gaze away from really uncomfortable realities that they could actually have an impact in.
Ask your kids what they think you as a family should do to help.
You may be surprised at the amount of creativity and generosity that your kids have. Why not ask and see what they come up with?
This is also about empowerment. If someone feels like they are contributing to a solution, then they will begin to own it for themselves.
Release control of your “perfect house.” Bring broken people in to mess up your perfection.
I’ve noticed an interesting culture of the “perfect-organic-range-free-germ-free home.” The kids can only eat perfectly wholesome food, this is where everything “goes,” schedules cannot be tampered with, and life in general revolves around the total interests of the kids.
And believe me, I know kids thrive and grow under healthy, consistent structure. And, please, someone give them regular naps!
But still, I think there needs to be a safe place where imperfect people can walk in as imperfect and feel accepted.
What if someone “dirty” comes into your home? Will your kids (or you) reject them because they don’t fit into the system?
What if you had a schedule that showed your kids that helping others is more important than playing video games?
What if it was all about “This is simply how we live as a family” instead of “Geez, this is another thing we have to add on top of our already crazy schedule?”
Our whole family participates in yearly 5k’s to raise awareness about human trafficking.
We go to a local orphanage every Tuesday at 4:00pm and give them cookies we made.
We bring a few kids over from local social services once a week for family game night in our living room.
Every time we give our children allowance, we require that they give 10% of it to raise money to the local safe house for formerly-trafficked girls.
A few more ideas come to mind…
Choose a country that is under the blight of poverty, violence and trafficking. Pray once a week as a family for that country and do research so you can talk about it with knowledge and understanding.
Find an organization that is doing sustainable work in that country, build a relationship, get real names to pray for, and send handmade notes and cards to the ones in the recovery shelters.
Save up and take a vacation as a family to that place as a missions trip.
Overall, it’s about being intentional, being purposeful with your life.
Don’t let life control your life. Teach by example that we can make decisions about what our life practically looks like. We’re not victims of our circumstances or appointments.
If it’s simply a part of your life and values, then you don’t have to worry about “not doing enough” or having to carve out extra time.
But remember, at the end of the day, you are raising a generation of world changers…
So don’t discount the impact you are making to the world by simply being a faithful mom.
We become what we look at. So if your children are spending 18 years of their lives watching your virtues of faithfulness, love, justice, kindness, and generosity, will they not become that themselves?
Start with who you are. Take care of you. Take inventory of your soul.
And then live out loud.
I can’t think of a better way to be a mom of justice than that.
Want to learn about human trafficking and exploitation in America and the world? These are my personal resources.
Here are some the most helpful organizations that I follow on Facebook and use for learning:
Here are organizations that sell really beautiful products that are either made by survivors of trafficking or support them:
WAR Chest Boutique– International free-trade products made by women survivors of trafficking
Bought Beautifully– International free-trade products that support survivors of exploitation
Starfish Project– fair-trade jewelry that employs previously trafficked women in Asia
Colette Sol USA– handmade women’s shoes to fight human trafficking
Cozzee– fair-trade coffee supporting survivors of trafficking
Conferences you seriously need to check out or see if you can stream:
The Justice Conference– Chicago, IL
Abolition Summit– Kansas City, MO
Global Prayer Gathering– Washington, D.C.
Books that have impacted my life and moved me to action:
God in a Brothel– by Daniel Walker. Stories of an undercover investigator’s experiences in saving women and children from sex trafficking around the world.
Possible by Stephan Bauman. A call to reconsider what it means to sustainably impact our neighborhoods, villages, and cities.
Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas. The story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce.
Films that nailed it in showing the realities of trafficking:
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls– award winning documentary on the global sex trade
Demand– documentary that is produced by Shared Hope International and focuses on demand factors for sex trafficking
Dispatches from the Front: Islands on the Edge– documentary highlighting the realities of human trafficking in Southeast Asia