I once saw a poster that showed a series of photos starting with a large Collie dog in between two small black pups. In the last photo the (miniature) Collie was dwarfed by two huge black Retrievers. The caption: “Don’t forget, they grow up.”
The bullied and abused child grows up. The well-loved child grows up. We can only silence a voice for so long, but it will eventually be heard, in art, song and creativity or in destructive fury. Every person incarcerated or sitting in positions of power was once a child. How we treat the children in our lives is a measure of our humanity.
There is a Scripture that in the English is translated, “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they won’t depart from it.” Sadly, it is a poor translation and led to the belief that strict discipline was the means to keep a child in the way they ‘should’ go. It not only was destructive in relationships between adults and children but didn’t work. How different when you understand the intent of the Hebrew language in which it was written. “Train up a child in their way, and when they are old they won’t depart from it. In each child is written their own manual. Every child has their way, and it takes time to perceive and respectfully understand the uniqueness of each child’s way. One way to do that is to listen.
We all agree that it is our children who are the future. Across our nation and around the world their voices are rising, speaking to us who have brought them into a world both harmful and bountiful, like a shipwreck carrying treasures. They are broken-hearted, yet hopeful, and ready to call the powers to task. They are the smallest but often the most powerful of prophets. May we who are the lions, the leopards and the wolves, stop…and listen.
A few weeks ago a dear friend sent me a note with a poem written by their ten year old grand-daughter. It speaks with a clarity profound and prophetic. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.
WILL IT BE
(10 years old)
Shall it always be in this world
To woman kind
To male kind
To child kind
How can our pledge talk of justice for all
When this may never be a reality
If no being has will
to step up to this
You may be brave
But only the bravest step up for what is right
Only the strongest admit that they too have weaknesses
Smart enough not to pretend to be another
To not try to be anything
If nobody stands up
And we’re not afraid to
So shall it be
That you stand
Or we stand
For liberty and equal rights for all
©2018 Ana Puncochar. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.