The worries of children and the longing in their hearts for the embrace of their parents is something difficult for adults to fully comprehend. But a child seperated from their parents knows well the emptiness inside and anxiety of the absence of their parent’s voice and presence.
Henry Rueben Caffell was seperated from his children for nine agonizing months. After serving in the British Army during World War II, he made the decision to get his wife and children a life “away from Europe’s wars” across the Atlantic in America. But how does one make such a journey with limited resources?
He made the hard decision to seperate from his family and to come to America first, crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth to first get a job in a new country, and then save up money to bring his family. He did all this while working through an immigration system that was new and difficult to understand.
My grandmother tells of the worry of her sisters, her mother and herself. She tells of the frightening journey they made across the ocean in a cargo ship, for those were the only tickets they could afford.
She tells of the great joy at the reunion of their little family when they finally arrived to their new home in America.
Henry Rueben was willing to “carry a cross” of sorts; caring enough for his family to work and sacrifice to establish a home for them as new arrivals. He was willing to navigate a difficult immigration system, willing to work in a steel mill to give his family a better life, and willing to obey and follow the laws of the land on his new country.
Have we lost the will to suffer for the sake of someone else? Have we lost the will to work for what’s valuable to us?
I propose we take a moment to look back at those generations of immigrants before us that sacrifice and worked and endeavored to obey that laws of their new country in order to build a better life for them and their families.
Good things are worth the wait and worth the work, shortcuts hardly ever pay off. If we’re not careful, we’ll create a society that rewards shortcuts and lawbreaking. If we’re not careful, we’ll create a society that rewards parents that use their children to garner pity for themselves, abusing the kindness of others.
Children should come first, yes, and parents are on the front lines of that philosophy, putting their children’s future as a priority above the own comfort and happiness.