"How Are the Children?"
In my office hangs a beautiful painting done by Chase Dahl, a student at Weber High School. I selected it this past spring as the "Superintendent's Choice Award" at our district art show. I love to look into the children's faces and see their hopes and aspirations. The painting is titled, "Children of Maasai." Among the many fabled and accomplished tribes of Africa, no tribe is considered more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Maasai. It's interesting to learn that the traditional greeting among the Maasi warriors is "Kasserian Ingeri," which interpreted means, "How are the children?" Not "How are you?" or "How do you do?" but "How are the children?" It provides a wonderfully revealing insight into the values of the Maasai culture! Their first concern is for the next generation.
In fact, it is still the traditional greeting of the Maasai, acknowledging the high value the Maasai place upon the well-being of young people. Even the fiercest warriors give the traditional response, "All the children are well." Note that it is not "My children are well," or "Some of the children are well," but all the children are well. Society can't be well unless all the children are well. This also means, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that the priorities of protecting the young and powerless are in place, and that the Maasai people have not forgotten their reason for being, their proper function and their responsibilities.
"All the children are well" means life is good. It means that the daily struggles of existence—even among the poor, include the proper care of the young and defenseless. I wonder how it might affect our consciousness for all children's welfare if we greeted one another each day by asking, "And, how are the children?" The question cuts right to the heart of the health of our society.
Dr. Jeff Stephens