Children: Let Them Amaze You
This is Home
Give a child a few crayons and a sheet of paper and what do you get? A drawing of a bright yellow sun, curly white clouds hopping across a pale blue sky, a house with a front door and two windows either side, a triangular roof with a tall chimney billowing smoke skyward, a tidy garden with daisies all in a row, a low border with bright green blades of grass, and a tree in the side yard topped with tufts of leaves. Children know what it takes to have a place called home.
What happens when you give crayons and paper to a group of children living in a refugee camp? You’ll still get the drawings of happy-faced suns and pretty gardens, but you’ll also get drawings carefully construed that show the horrors of what they’ve left behind: bodies sprawled on the ground, helicopters above, people pointing guns at one another.
On September 3, 2015, the Wall Street Journal published a series of drawings by children at the Budapest Keleti train station who were waiting with their families until they were given the go ahead to move on. On October 20th, the Wall Street Journal published more drawings made by Eritrean children in the refugee camps of Ethiopia. Comparing the two sets of drawings gives a complete picture of what children go through when they are uprooted. The drawings expose their vulnerable state, much like a flower pulled up by its roots and left to wither in the sun.
Children know what home means: security, comfort, joy. Children are also realistic. They know what is in front of them. They are fully aware of the chaos that the adults in their lives have brought upon them. Yet they blame no one. They innocently cling to the hope that they will be able to go home someday or create a new home for themselves and their families. Adults think that children thrive on fantasy and live in their little worlds of make-believe. But it’s the children who are actually laser-focused on reality. Their drawings show it clearly: Build a house. Have enough windows to let in the warmth of that big happy sun in the sky. Plant a garden all around. Make sure you have trees for shade.
Every child deserves such a haven, one where they can flourish and grow to reach their true potential.
From top left: Shouq, 11, from Syria; Hosiar, 5, from Syria; Mohannad, 3, from Syria; Walit, 9, from Syria; Mitra, 8, from Afghanistan