It’s Thanksgiving this week (where did the time go!?), and in light of our day of thanks, this morning I’m reflecting on something that I’m extremely grateful for everyday: My option to choose.

During i-ACT 17, we had the opportunity to interview mothers of Little Ripples children. I’ve already written about these interviews, but this morning I wanted to highlight a re-occurring theme and response from these interviews. When mothers were asked what they hoped for the future of their children, each mother independently responded that they wished their children would grow up to be able to choose what they did with their life.

Now, stop for second, and really think about this.

I’m well aware that not everybody here in the U.S. has the opportunity to choose what they do with their life. We are not all able to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. As Americans we don’t all start off on the same playing field, and many people face insurmountable barriers from the start. But we do wake up everyday and have the ability to control some aspects of our lives. Whether it’s what we eat. Where we work. Where we live. What outfit we wear. Whether we go to school. If we want to be in a relationship, get married, have kids, stay in communication with our family members, access the Internet, a library, or a grocery store. The list goes on. A refugee does not wake up and have these choices. They eat the same thing everyday. They worry about whether they’ll have enough porridge for tomorrow, or if they’ll be able to afford a little bit of meat this month. They worry if the World Food Program will continue to cut their rations. They don’t get to choose where they live. Rather they wait, until they’re told what “zone” they’ll be living in within the camp. Which in turn defines when they receive rations and what school their children can attend. They’ll be told how old they are, given a general month and year; an approximation made by whichever UN worker is assessing them upon arrival. Anything considered a novelty like the Internet, income generating activities, social clubs, etc., will be dependent on the aid of non-governmental organizations.

What I found to be the most humbling about these responses is that these mothers are just like every mother I know. They dream the same dream for their children as my sister does, and as my brother, and friends who are all parents do. Yet a refugee parent wakes up everyday, with their children, surviving in an environment and context that they don’t choose or control.

What choices will you make today? Want to give a refugee mother the choice to have her daughter play organized soccer? If so, click here to give just $10 to sponsor one child for the Darfur United Soccer Academy.

Happy  Monday.

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