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Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing

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The time has come, argues Dr. Wess Stafford, for a major paradigm shift: Children are too important and too intensely loved by God to be left behind or left to chance. Children belong to all of us and we are compelled to intervene on their behalf. We must invest in children–all across the world. There are strategic, persuasive reasons–beyond love and kindness–to invest in The time has come, argues Dr. Wess Stafford, for a major paradigm shift: Children are too important and too intensely loved by God to be left behind or left to chance. Children belong to all of us and we are compelled to intervene on their behalf. We must invest in children–all across the world. There are strategic, persuasive reasons–beyond love and kindness–to invest in children. Today they may snuggle into your lap, if you let them. But tomorrow you may not have access to them in the corridors of power they might occupy. Now is the time to shape the future. Dr. Stafford issues an urgent call for change. His adventures as a boy raised in a West African village provide an often-humorous and always-captivating backdrop to his profound and inspiring challenges. Wess lived the reality of “it takes a village to raise a child” and calls us to “be that loving village for children everywhere.” This book will encourage you to turn your good, loving intentions into strategic actions and empower you to help change the world–and the future–forever: one child at a time.


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The time has come, argues Dr. Wess Stafford, for a major paradigm shift: Children are too important and too intensely loved by God to be left behind or left to chance. Children belong to all of us and we are compelled to intervene on their behalf. We must invest in children–all across the world. There are strategic, persuasive reasons–beyond love and kindness–to invest in The time has come, argues Dr. Wess Stafford, for a major paradigm shift: Children are too important and too intensely loved by God to be left behind or left to chance. Children belong to all of us and we are compelled to intervene on their behalf. We must invest in children–all across the world. There are strategic, persuasive reasons–beyond love and kindness–to invest in children. Today they may snuggle into your lap, if you let them. But tomorrow you may not have access to them in the corridors of power they might occupy. Now is the time to shape the future. Dr. Stafford issues an urgent call for change. His adventures as a boy raised in a West African village provide an often-humorous and always-captivating backdrop to his profound and inspiring challenges. Wess lived the reality of “it takes a village to raise a child” and calls us to “be that loving village for children everywhere.” This book will encourage you to turn your good, loving intentions into strategic actions and empower you to help change the world–and the future–forever: one child at a time.

30 review for Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    13 July 2007 there is a part of me that died and a part of me that has never lived before. the cruelty of people, the strength of compassion, the joys of dusty lessons in Africa and the torment of hell in boarding schools… the redemption of our God. children, their wholeness, and the love of God for them. poverty, its destruction, and the need for God to redeem broken relationships. he can, he does, do this. blessed be the LORD, who has heard the cry of the poor and destitute, whose throne is set upo 13 July 2007 there is a part of me that died and a part of me that has never lived before. the cruelty of people, the strength of compassion, the joys of dusty lessons in Africa and the torment of hell in boarding schools… the redemption of our God. children, their wholeness, and the love of God for them. poverty, its destruction, and the need for God to redeem broken relationships. he can, he does, do this. blessed be the LORD, who has heard the cry of the poor and destitute, whose throne is set upon foundations of righteousness and justice. [upon reading too small to ignore…]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Becca Wilds

    This biography of Compassion, Intl president Wess Stafford was provided free at a conference - which circumstance is usually not associated with great books. But this one - wow. I was fascinated by how Stafford turned his own childhood abuse at the hands of missionaries - so-called men and women of God - into a life-long passion for the care and shepherding of children. No bitterness, no cynicism, no hate - just a pure desire to feed, clothe and love the "least of these". The book is compelling This biography of Compassion, Intl president Wess Stafford was provided free at a conference - which circumstance is usually not associated with great books. But this one - wow. I was fascinated by how Stafford turned his own childhood abuse at the hands of missionaries - so-called men and women of God - into a life-long passion for the care and shepherding of children. No bitterness, no cynicism, no hate - just a pure desire to feed, clothe and love the "least of these". The book is compelling and convicting, and if you aren't in a mood to have your own selfish values and lifestyle come sneaking up like a snake through your conscience, then don't read this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    After having read Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Dr. Wess Stafford, I find it easier to divide the book into two virtual book reviews. The first would be Dr. Stafford's life experiences growing up in Africa, the insightful cultural comparisons between life there and in the West, the traumatic abuse he and others suffered while students at The Christian and Missionary Alliance's Mamou Christian Academy, the young Wess Stafford transitioning back to life in the United After having read Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Dr. Wess Stafford, I find it easier to divide the book into two virtual book reviews. The first would be Dr. Stafford's life experiences growing up in Africa, the insightful cultural comparisons between life there and in the West, the traumatic abuse he and others suffered while students at The Christian and Missionary Alliance's Mamou Christian Academy, the young Wess Stafford transitioning back to life in the United States, and lastly how all of the above led Dr. Stafford to become the person and leader he is today. These parts of the book are gripping, and I would rate them four or five stars. Read the book for these reasons if for no other! The second virtual book (not how the actual book is laid out) is about children, why they are important, and the strategic importance of ministering to them (particularly those who are in poverty). Unlike many Christian books which set out to prove a particular topic, Dr. Stafford waits until near the end to lay out his biblical framework. I appreciated this change in format. However, like many of the authors of these other books, all seeking to prove the importance of whatever their particular topic might be, the author may be engaging in eisegesis. For those who may not know, "exegesis" is an interpretation or explanation of a bible text that runs true to the context and original meaning. Eisegesis, however, is misinterpreting texts in such ways that express the interpreter's own biases, viewpoints, etc. Closely related to this is proof-texting: finding and using passages of scripture that support whatever position you want to uphold. At the beginning of chapter 14, Stafford says: "I realize I am stretching the envelope rather vigorously here. " I concur that is exactly what he is doing. While no one would argue that children are not important to God, particularly those who are poor, one might also argue that other dispossessed, oppressed, ignored or impoverished peoples are equally as important. For example, I recently heard someone say that visiting elderlies in nursing care centers should not be prioritized since "they will be gone soon anyway." So while I agree with and appreciate the main thrust of the book, I think he exaggerates a bit and that other neglected demographics are also precious in God's sight. Also, perhaps these parts of the book could have been written in a more polished and developed fashion (I read from other reviews that he has done so in another book, but I have not read it yet). So, in conclusion, I would give this second virtual book within the book only 2 stars or so.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cy

    Spectacular book. If you want to be rocked and I hope you do, this is the one book to start with. Stafford's personal story is worth the read. But with that you get insight into our role in the lives of the world's forgotten children. In light of all that is going on in Haiti this might be worthwhile for those of you unaware with what Compassion International is all about. They have been in Haiti for years. They are still there. This book is one of my favorites. I could read it again. I don't sa Spectacular book. If you want to be rocked and I hope you do, this is the one book to start with. Stafford's personal story is worth the read. But with that you get insight into our role in the lives of the world's forgotten children. In light of all that is going on in Haiti this might be worthwhile for those of you unaware with what Compassion International is all about. They have been in Haiti for years. They are still there. This book is one of my favorites. I could read it again. I don't say that a lot.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I thought that it may end up being a bit dry, full of troubling statistics about the state of impoverished children around the world, simply an appeal to sponsor children. This book far exceeded my expectations. I found myself moved to tears several times while reading this book. Stafford has a way of not only bringing readers to the humble African village of his youth, but also vividly relating the details from the perspective of an innocent child. As a future parent, I appreciated the fact tha I thought that it may end up being a bit dry, full of troubling statistics about the state of impoverished children around the world, simply an appeal to sponsor children. This book far exceeded my expectations. I found myself moved to tears several times while reading this book. Stafford has a way of not only bringing readers to the humble African village of his youth, but also vividly relating the details from the perspective of an innocent child. As a future parent, I appreciated the fact that he also devoted much of the book to the importance of encouraging children. He gave a lot of examples from his own experience, which gave me the feeling that I was getting sage advice from a father figure on how to be a good mom someday. Last but not least, this book is an encouragement to me as a sponsor of 5 children through Compassion International. It gave me ideas on how to relate and communicate with my kids through letters, and reminded me of the impact and blessing (both ways) of child sponsorship.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is life changing. You will never look at a child in the same way again. I want to be this book. I want to radically change the way people around me see the children in their spheres of influence. I want to interact with and value children the way Jesus did to the wonder and amazement of those around Him. I want my life's work to be advocacy and empowerment of children. This book is life changing. You will never look at a child in the same way again. I want to be this book. I want to radically change the way people around me see the children in their spheres of influence. I want to interact with and value children the way Jesus did to the wonder and amazement of those around Him. I want my life's work to be advocacy and empowerment of children.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Heldt

    I don't give out "5 stars-amazing" to many books not written by Tolkien or Lewis but this one earned it. An excellent counter to our current culture's devaluing of children. I don't give out "5 stars-amazing" to many books not written by Tolkien or Lewis but this one earned it. An excellent counter to our current culture's devaluing of children.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    This is a beautiful, beautiful book. Beautiful because Dr. Stafford’s heart is all over these pages. There are a few books that are my ‘Compassion’ books. This one, I feel, is the most in depth and the one that is the most outlying. Rarely is Compassion really mentioned, but at the same time, the soul of Compassion is all through it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rhonnie Cough

    Inspiring, well-written, personal....really beautiful book that I will pick up again. He really made me think of children in a way I never have before. They are not “1/2 a person!” And the statistics about people coming to Christ while they are children are pretty overwhelming. Bought a copy for my church’s library if they don’t already have it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jaimee Barnhart

    Anyone working in family ministry- scratch that, anyone who is a part of the local church, needs to read this book. Children are not "the next big thing"... they are the thing *right now* that we are neglecting. So good!! Anyone working in family ministry- scratch that, anyone who is a part of the local church, needs to read this book. Children are not "the next big thing"... they are the thing *right now* that we are neglecting. So good!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Good reminder about the value and importance of being gentle and giving time to children

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Vinson

    It was very interesting to read about Dr. Stafford’s life as a missionary kid, to see how God used it to prepare him for a place in ministry to children. Where many others would’ve given up and turned their backs on God after facing abuse at the hands of adults, other missionaries no less, this man is determined to be a light in the darkness and a voice for those who have no voice. This book is a powerful and poignant reminder that children are not just the next big thing, or just the next gener It was very interesting to read about Dr. Stafford’s life as a missionary kid, to see how God used it to prepare him for a place in ministry to children. Where many others would’ve given up and turned their backs on God after facing abuse at the hands of adults, other missionaries no less, this man is determined to be a light in the darkness and a voice for those who have no voice. This book is a powerful and poignant reminder that children are not just the next big thing, or just the next generation. They are important now and they play a vital role in society. And as heartbreaking as it was to read this book, to see how children are commonly exploited around the world, mostly due to poverty, it inspires me to do what I can. As Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” This book encourages us to show love to not only children living in poverty around the world in developing countries, but also to those children right here in our own neighborhoods, to be proactive in loving and encouraging children within our spheres of influence. That’s all children really want and need—to feel loved. Every child deserves that. And no child deserves to suffer at the hands of adults who don’t care. It’s time for us to stop turning a blind eye to the atrocities that are committed against innocent children, and to stand up for them and be the voice for them. If you can sponsor a child through Compassion International, that’s great. But I think the main point Dr. Stafford tries to make in his book is that it’s time for society to stop seeing children as unimportant and realize that they are imminently valuable and important in God’s eyes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I loved this. Dr. Stafford is the president of Compassion International & an advocate for children - this book is his story & a plea to apply the Great Commission to the children of the world & relieve their poverty. There are just a few things holding me back from giving this 5 stars ~ one is that he seems to view children as guiltless, innocents rather than sinners in need of God's grace, and he takes liberties with Bible stories "embellishing" them for his purposes which I think is wrong. But I loved this. Dr. Stafford is the president of Compassion International & an advocate for children - this book is his story & a plea to apply the Great Commission to the children of the world & relieve their poverty. There are just a few things holding me back from giving this 5 stars ~ one is that he seems to view children as guiltless, innocents rather than sinners in need of God's grace, and he takes liberties with Bible stories "embellishing" them for his purposes which I think is wrong. But over all this is a great book, I highly recommend it & just ordered another copy from paperbackswap to share =)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I don't think I've ever read a book so simple on the surface that has so much depth and truth to it. Not many people treat children and their needs as highly as Wess Stafford, and his passion and desire to help them radiates through every page. From the stories of his childhood in Africa, to his account of living at a truly horrific boarding school, all the way to where he is now as the founder of Compassion, his motto shines through his words. Children are too important to God and His work to t I don't think I've ever read a book so simple on the surface that has so much depth and truth to it. Not many people treat children and their needs as highly as Wess Stafford, and his passion and desire to help them radiates through every page. From the stories of his childhood in Africa, to his account of living at a truly horrific boarding school, all the way to where he is now as the founder of Compassion, his motto shines through his words. Children are too important to God and His work to take lightly. This is a profound book with a message every one of us needs to hear and remember continually and it is not one I shall soon forget.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne Reynolds

    This book should be read by everyone who sponsors children through Compassion International. Wess shares his heart for children and why we should invest in them. Children need adults in their lives to love them unconditionally. As Compassion sponsors, we have the opportunity to pour into the lives of children we may never meet this side of heaven. But the encouragement we give them in letters can make an eternal difference in their lives.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This book has fueled my love and calling to child ministry. Mr. Stafford clearly articulates why it is so important to minister to kids. His own life story as a missionary kid is amazing to read and see how God used that to prepare him for his place as the president of Compassion International.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Part memoir, part Bible study, part treatise, all call-to-arms. A compelling and important book that deserves to be widely read and acted upon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt Miles

    A little repetitive at the end, but worth reading nonetheless.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Day

    Dr. Wess Stafford, former Director and President of Compassion International, opens the book, which is actually a memoir, by taking the reader back to the village in Africa where he spent the first 14 years of his life, except for going to the missionary children's boarding school during the school year...which turns out to be a nightmare experience that he details in the book as well. Dr. Stafford goes onto describe the many ways that children are so precious and important to both of God's King Dr. Wess Stafford, former Director and President of Compassion International, opens the book, which is actually a memoir, by taking the reader back to the village in Africa where he spent the first 14 years of his life, except for going to the missionary children's boarding school during the school year...which turns out to be a nightmare experience that he details in the book as well. Dr. Stafford goes onto describe the many ways that children are so precious and important to both of God's Kingdoms, both in Heaven and on Earth. I found myself shedding a tear or two at certain points in his book, and then smiling...and even laughing...because of the mindset that he was able to cultivate with the help of his Christian faith. He was able to come to view his difficult past as the roads he needed to walk down in order to ultimately gain the leadership role with Compassion International working to end child hunger and poverty throughout the world. A humble, modest, wise, and insightful man...traits that I imagine he could only have acquired from having a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ...Dr. Stafford writes in such a style that I felt as if I was actually sitting down with him as he told his story. With each turning of the page, I learned to admire and respect the man for enduring such hardships as he did, yet never allowing it to make him bitter or angry, but rather turning it into having victory over his past and helping others to do the same. There should be more men like him in the world. I highly recommend this book, and especially for those working with children in high poverty urban areas.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    Written by the president of Compassion International, Wes Stafford, a children's support ministry to those in poverty. I am sad to say I let this wonderful book languish on my shelf for six years. Having finally read it I was totally unprepared for the depth of it, the heart break of reading about the author's childhood experience as an MK sent to boarding school, and his treatment of the importance of children's ministry, especially children of poverty. Highly recommended for anyone but especia Written by the president of Compassion International, Wes Stafford, a children's support ministry to those in poverty. I am sad to say I let this wonderful book languish on my shelf for six years. Having finally read it I was totally unprepared for the depth of it, the heart break of reading about the author's childhood experience as an MK sent to boarding school, and his treatment of the importance of children's ministry, especially children of poverty. Highly recommended for anyone but especially MK's (especially if they were sent to abusive boarding schools), children's ministry workers/pastors, and parents and teachers.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grace Kim

    Too Small to Ignore is a beautifully written book that makes you realize how valuable children are and compels you to take action in investing in their lives. Even though I found myself drowning in tears as I read about Dr. Stafford’s childhood traumas as a missionary kid, seeing how he turned his experiences around to help the voiceless in children’s ministry was really inspiring. This book is truly a great and important read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dani Neira

    “Children are victimised by war, pornography, and prostitution, as well as by lack of funding, feeding, educating, and protecting. Yet in a few short years, the world’s challenges will be theirs to manage. Now is the time to act on their behalf and invest in children - they are too small to ignore.” 👏

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katie Robles

    Fascinating combination of autobiography and argument for the importance of investing in children. I'm a Compassion sponsor and it gave me a renewed vision of why they do what they do; of how important it is. Fascinating combination of autobiography and argument for the importance of investing in children. I'm a Compassion sponsor and it gave me a renewed vision of why they do what they do; of how important it is.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Leo

    Great perspective and insight. Our children are too often forgotten or pushed aside in our culture and, sadly, in our churches. If they are the most commonly attacked by Satan shouldn't they be the most commonly pursued by loving adults? Great perspective and insight. Our children are too often forgotten or pushed aside in our culture and, sadly, in our churches. If they are the most commonly attacked by Satan shouldn't they be the most commonly pursued by loving adults?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Kim

    Certainly an eye-opener!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Serenity Ward

    i think that everyone in ministry should have to read this book. may the church see children as the church of today not the church of tomorrow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eva K. Lysåker Hjelmen

    Wow - this book totally exceeded my expectations. One of my favorite books ever. Strongly recommended to anyone who in any way work with or care for children.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Junver Arcayna

    This is one of the best books that I recommend to friends who are into the development sector or those who are interested in community work. In general, this is worth the read for everyone!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin Meade

    Wes is transparent about his life and so many issues that have to do with the inequity in this world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Excellent book on the priceless value of children in God’s kingdom. It has motivated me to do so much more for our most valuable resource!

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