17 April 2009

And how are the children?

How Are the Children
Adapted by Pat Hoertdoerfer from an excerpt of a speech by Rev. Dr. Patrick T. O'Neill

Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai. It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn the traditional greeting that passed between Masai warriors:"Kasserian Ingera," one would always say to another. It means, "And how are the children?"

It is still the traditional greeting among the Masai, acknowledging the high value that the Masai always place on their children's well-being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer, "All the children are well." Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that the priorities of protecting the young, the powerless, are in place. That Masai society has not forgotten its reason for being, its proper functions and responsibilities. "All the children are well" means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles for existence do not preclude proper caring for their young.

I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children's welfare if in our culture we took to greeting each other with this daily question: "And how are the children?" I wonder if we heard that question and passed it along to each other a dozen times a day, if it would begin to make a difference in the reality of how children are thought of or cared about in our own country.

I wonder if every adult among us, parent and non-parent alike, felt an equal weight for the daily care and protection of all the children in our community, in our town, in our state, in our country. . . . I wonder if we could truly say without any hesitation, "The children are well, yes, all the children are well."

What would it be like . . . if the minister began every worship service by answering the question, "And how are the children?" If every town leader had to answer the question at the beginning of every meeting: "And how are the children? Are they all well?" Wouldn't it be interesting to hear their answers? What would it be like? I wonder . . .

From REACH February 1999

Seen on RainSolace.

*The inspiration for Conscious Friday comes from Se'Lah at Necessary Room.


  1. Wow...and how are the children?

    What a wonderfully conscious post. Children are indeed the future, our future. Why not invest in them?

    Happy Conscious Friday!

  2. I love that concept. How are the Children? We are only doing as well as our weakest and most defenseless members of society.

  3. Wonderful post! We should all incorporate, "How are the children?" in our daily greeting. The Masai have the right idea.

  4. OMG! That's absolutely electrifying! How are the children? So, the next time someone asks me how is my daughter or I ask how are your children, I will now ask and answer with deep, sincere honesty and curosity... I hope to hear that all are well, loved and drown in peace.

    My mom always says, "It takes a village to raise a child." That, too, takes on another level of meaning to me.

    Happy Conscious Friday!

  5. Thanks for posting that, wonderful!
    (Thanks so much for answering my query about posting videos too, hopefully we can get some up on our blog soon :)

    Gina xxx