By Katrina Smith
Wouldn’t it be great if we lived life through a child’s eyes?
One of my nineteen years olds’ favorite quotes are:
“When childhood dies, its corpse is called an adult. Children show us the state of our decay.” Brian W. Aldiss
Although it seems kinda dark and a quote you would more likely hear in a Tim Burton film, it’s actually pretty profound when you think about it. Babies are born pure in all thoughts. There is no prejudice, judgment, worries or stress. The only time that they cry is when they are hungry, tired or need changed or want affection. They only require the basic human need of food, sleep, clothing, hygiene and human touch. You can put five toddlers in a sand-box all different genders, races, and class and they play with each other ignorant to judgment. Even if one swaps a toy and gets mad, they get over it pretty quickly and go right back to playing.
They believe in magic, unicorns, fairy dust, wishing on stars, mermaids, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They believe that all things are possible. They are easily amused and they laugh more than they cry.
Don’t believe me?
A study shows that the average child laughs about 400 times per day, the average adult laughs only 15 times per day. What happened to the other 385 laughs? I know of several adults who laugh less than that. If you are a parent, study your little one. Analyze their laugh, happiness and you’ll realize their laughter is quite contagious as well.
“Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder” Eberhard Arnold
The sad part is that there are so many children who are abused and neglected which steal their childhood away all too soon. Then of course, the ways of the world download information into their minds every second. The mainstream media teaches them to be shallow and superficial focusing on physical appearance and give in to their every temptation, Business teaches them monopoly and greed and History teaches them about war, hostility and tragedy.
Children are even embarrassed or afraid to openly pray in class or proudly wear the cross around their necks. It is more celebrated when your BFF gets a belly ring over a purity ring and sadly, parents are responsible. They will sign a release and/or take their children to get tattoos and piercings for their sixteenth birthday before they purchase a bible or purity ring. Then mainstream media promotes music and commercials with lyrics that are merely an audio version of pornography but will not talk about Christ. If they do, the ratings drop.
“And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said,
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” –Matthew 18:2-6
While growing up living in poverty and surrounded by negative influences, I remember a church bus coming around to pick us up for Sunday school and the local community center, Concord, taking us in off the streets. Although we jumped on that bus and ran into the community center because we knew we would get free pizza, candy, air conditioning and play games, we learned about love, patience, kindness, friendship, humility, forgiveness and community. Without that bus picking me up and the church and community center staff who worked tirelessly with the hope that we did not become another statistic, I’m not sure if those seeds would have been planted.
Statistics show that in the inner city during the school year, lunch at school is the only meal many children will eat so in the summer, they go hungry. Let’s not even talk about the 67% of children of the global population that do not have access to clean drinking water, let alone, food. Churches could really make a difference by picking up hungry kids providing lunch easing the hunger pangs of a hungry child all while also planting seeds. When they have nothing, they latch onto anything that latches onto them. They long to feel empowered. That is why so many love video games; to feel heroic and important. Sadly, the mainstream media, violence, sex and crime are the ones planting the seeds.
A few years ago, I assisted the implementation of a youth program in the inner city and coached little league cheerleading where unfortunately things have just gotten worse for children since I grew up. The neighborhood was predominantly populated by abandoned women and fatherless children. The lack of educational opportunities, decrease in funding for youth programs, increase in the media targeting and exploiting the youth, increase in video games that stifled their creativity and low parental participation rates stock-piled the odds against them.
The irony is that there are more churches than ever and the need is greater. Church buses and the community centers are needed now more than ever. Then you have people screaming that their “tax-payer dollars” shouldn’t go for this and that but then are surprised when the homicide and violence rates increase, filling the prisons.
“It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair a broken adult” – Unknown
It is said that some of the most intelligent and talented individuals are sitting in the prison system which comes to no surprise. Their energy and creativity just wasn’t channeled or nurtured. I know I am not a math genius, but it costs far more to keep one man in prison than it does to fund a youth program. They will grow to adulthood and we depend on the youth because they are our future leaders. Building up children is a proactive game plan, rather than reactive.
The thing I learned most about my own up-bringing as well as my time at Watkins Park is that when all that a child is surrounded by is turmoil that is all that they know. But taking an interest with just a little bit of genuine care, concern and tough love and teaching them that that is a different way, they will follow. They loved to feel empowered.
As for the Word of God, I learned that once you plant it in a child, it is a seed that cannot be uprooted. It will always be there in the back of their mind and in deep in their spirit and during times of sorrow or conflict it will come to the forefront. I realized this when my teen who challenges everything I try to teach her rolls her eyes during prayer but then I sometimes catch her reading her Bible and encouraging a friend on the phone with scripture.
So today, I am challenging all of the churches. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and too many kids are idle this summer. We need church buses picking up children and taking them to church feeding, nurturing and loving them. It truly takes an entire village to raise a child. The church (body of Christ) should be that village, not the perversions of mainstream media. We are missing opportunities.
“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14
On that note….I will conclude with a favorite quote of mine
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” Forest E. Witchcraft
Co-Founder, B.L.O.G Magazine™
The Co-Founder of B.L.O.G Magazine™, Katrina is a simple mid-western girl from the inner city of Indianapolis, Indiana, where she is happily married with six children. After teaching financial literacy in underserved communities for eight years, she is now the author and workshop facilitator for The Butterfly Movement book, workbook and workshops and Evicting Jezebel. She is also currently working on the release of her next books, Independent No More and Wisdom is a She due to release in April 2013. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter or contact her by email at email@example.com