a few excerpts from Spiritual Reflections presented at Silverside Church Delaware, March 24, 2019, David Albert Farmer, Ph.D.
I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Dang! Did Whitney Houston ever sing the heck out of that song!
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how it used to be.
Michael Masser and Linda Creed
That’s a nostalgic thought. There aren’t too many times and places when and where life was carefree and easy for children across the board. Nonetheless, I love both the sentiment and the wisdom of this song; in particular, the obvious: children are our future. And the hard-to-embrace truth: let them lead the way. Most older generations have not wanted to relinquish control to the younger generations even when the old ways have become dangerously dated.
Children are amazing. We don’t have to wait until they’re adults to learn from them. The great poetic philosopher, Maya Angelou, is remembered for countless insights, one of which was: When people tell you who they are, believe them. I’d add to that, not saying she didn’t already have what I’m about to say in mind, children are included.
This week or last week is/was Children’s Hospitals Week. I love that incredible professionals give their lives to care for infants and children going through health crises.
Then there was the story of the Palestinian child arrested by armed Israeli soldiers in combat gear, a 10-year-old year old in Hebron on the West Bank; in 2017 they arrested a 5-year-old; in 2018, a 3-year-old.
We arrest our own kids too. Remember the 11-year-old in Florida arrested last month for refusing to stand to pledge the flag and then verbally pushing back when the substitute teacher criticized him for his choice. The resource officer carted him off to a juvenile detention center without notifying his parents where he was held for hours while his Mom thought he was at school.
Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black, and white,
they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
I’m a huge fan of Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). My understanding is that she’s given her whole professional life fighting for the rights and the well-being of children. What a wonderful legacy, huh? The Children’s Defense Fund’s mission is “to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.”
Now, 89 or so years of age, and what a life given fully for children. Here are a couple of quotes from her that stand out to me:
A nation that does not stand for its children does not stand for anything and will not stand tall in the future.Marian Wright Edelman
Together we can and must fight for justice for our children and protect them from draconian tax cuts and budget choices that threaten their survival, education and preparation for the future. If they are not ready for tomorrow, neither is America.Marian Wright Edelman
What I’m about to share with you now are some startling snippets from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (embraced in about 1990) that I don’t think anyone on Capital Hill or at Homeland Security or at the sites of cages for children or connected to the United States at the UN has any knowledge of at all:
The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents….States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence….States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests….Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child.United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children
I respect people who hold views all along the continuum concerning reproductive rights except those who think they have the right to hurt, physically and/or emotionally, those who differ with them. One thing I absolutely cannot abide, however, is people demanding no abortions under any circumstances and then creating hell on earth for the kids who are born into situations in which they are denied food, water, and enough basic rights for them to be able to embrace their humanity. Once the kids are born, the world—yes, the world—owes them a no-suffering childhood.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.