Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Schools in Sierra Leone reopened today, having been closed since the Ebola outbreak in July. According to an NPR report, "more than one-third of the 10,000+ deaths have been in Sierra Leone."

When this year's harsh winter closed schools for several days in a row, some parents joked about how grueling it was to be trapped at home with stir-crazy children. Very few of us reading this blog can imagine what it's like to experience nine months of closed schools, especially amid a health crisis claiming thousands of lives.

Not that long ago, in 1991, Sierra Leone faced another horrifying crisis: civil war. A month ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a survivor of that war. Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, was forced to become a soldier in Sierra Leone at the age of thirteen.

Photo courtesy of Brookfield Academy
Ishmael visited my children's school, where his book is required reading for the ninth graders. Students, teachers, alumni, and parents packed the gym to hear him tell his story. Sierra Leone culture cherishes storytelling, and Ishmael carries on his country's tradition powerfully.

Please join me at Praying with Grace to share two lessons Ishmael taught that relate directly to our work as parents.

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