Sometimes when a book relates upsetting stories, and especially when those stories involve children, I have to take frequent breaks from reading. I have to put it down and walk away so that the pain coming from the pages reaches me only a little bit at a time.
Wess Stafford’s book, “Too Small to Ignore,” was definitely one of those books.
It took me quite a while to get through it. It was well written, but the stories of child abuse and children in poverty were very difficult to read.
Stafford was a child of missionaries who spent part of his childhood in Africa. There, he essentially led two lives.
One was the idyllic childhood in the small African village where his parents were working. There he enjoyed learning and growing in a close-knit community, watched over by many loving adults. It was there that he also witnessed poverty firsthand. As a child, he saw many close friends in the village die, giving him his first glimpse of the destructive effects of poverty.
The other life Stafford led was at the unspeakably abusive boarding school he attended each school year with other children of missionaries. Here children were punished, beaten and abused daily in unfathomable circumstances.
Stafford used these situations in his life for good, though, committing his life to helping children in poverty. Today, he is the CEO of Compassion International, an organization that serves children in 26 countries, with a strong commitment to Christ, children, church and integrity.
Despite the difficult obstacles Stafford faced as a child, he has become a champion of children everywhere. He urges readers to rethink the importance of children and their role in our lives, putting them first, treasuring them and pouring our time and love into them, whether they are our own children or children in a faraway village.
As he explains the effects of both financial and spiritual poverty on children, he challenges the reader, “Now that you know, what will you do?”
This book is eye-opening, thought-provoking and inspiring, and I highly recommend it.