Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Legacy Worth Leaving

Wess Stafford experienced some of the cruelest physical and psychological abuse when he was a young man. People he should have been able to trust to act within his best interests took advantage of that childlike trust. Now, close your eyes and fast forward to the future. How do you imagine this man turned out? Based on your knowledge of cause and effect and your experience with children who are mistreated at a young age, what do you think has become of this man’s life?
                Wess Stafford is the President and CEO of Compassion International. Perhaps you’ve heard of it;  Compassion International is one of the largest sponsor organizations for impoverished children. Stafford himself would attest that the events of one’s past often influence one’s future. Life is made up of countless “minutes,” and not just those lasting for sixty Mississippis, but a brief period of influence. Those brief periods can influence a life that may have plummeted into despair and turn them around, inspiring a young man or woman at an early age to do the same for others. Conversely, those “minutes” can be used to bring irreparable harm to a young life, causing it to follow in that direction forever.
                In Stafford’s new book, Just a Minute, he, with the help of Dean Merrill, takes readers through a storybook full of lives that were shaped by the influence of others. The book reads reminiscent of a “Chicken Soup” book, a treasury of “minutes” in story form, weaving through stories of lives of which you and I may not be familiar and those with which we are very familiar such as Adolf Hitler, whose “minute” (you can imagine) was not so pleasant, and didn’t result in anything worth emulating.
                In the first few paragraphs of his book, Stafford explains why such a book is so important. When Stafford travels and speaks to crowds on the “minutes” that changed who they are today and why it’s so important to invest in the lives of children, everyone listening remembers a moment in time, a talk, a pat on the back, an encouraging word, or a discouraging word that had a very vital effect on the person they’ve become.
                We live in a world that seems to wage war on childhood. Child-killing has been legalized and labeled “abortion,” as if life is something where, at the last moment, one can pull the eject button and fly out of the cockpit, saving oneself from the wreckage below. People are on the local news being hauled off to court on child porn charges every day. Men and women go to jail for child abuse. Prominent figures rest in the safety net of their influence while leaving countless young lives destroyed forever. Those are the “minutes” that should not be. But they happen.  This is why Just a Minute is, indeed, vitally important.
                Stafford encourages readers to make a minute worthwhile in the life of a child, just like someone may have for them. And if the reader has never had a “minute” invested in himself or herself, he or she should look back on what they wished for and not cheat another life out of what had been neglected him or her.  Children grow up to be adults and here we are now, with a choice. What kind of minute will we leave?

Click here to read reviews or purchase the book from

Thanks to Christine of TheDeMossGroup for the copy to review!

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