Monday, February 3, 2014

Bless the Children

I try not to brag on our church family too much because none of us would want to rob God of His glory.  But can I tell you how proud I am of what some of our folks are doing to care for children in our community? 

Recently, the Arkansas Department of Human Services gave a plaque to a group of people in our congregation who work with the foster child program.  The ministry is called Pure Commitment.  The goal of the ministry is to provide care packages for kids who, because of some crisis in their own homes, enter the foster system.  The group also ministers directly to the children and provides some respite care for foster parents.  Booyah!  That’s taking Jesus to the kids—a group among whom Jesus is very much comfortable and at home.

Another group in the church works in our weekly after-school program with older children from the Hot Springs School District.  This is the second year for this ministry.  Our workers help them with their school work, provide casual mentoring and encouragement, feed them and good supper, and move them into the Wednesday evening children’s programs in the church with the rest of our kids.  God is using this to allow us to have an impact on these children and their families.  Some of these children are at-risk kids and need all the positive influence and love they can receive.

The reason I’m sharing this is because of something I stumbled across in my files in the last couple of weeks about children.  Amy O’Neal, who has spent much of her life caring for her own special needs daughter and other special needs children, shared this with me a few years ago.  It reminds us of our blessings and our responsibilities to the children of our world.  It’s called We Are Responsible for Children.

We are responsible for children
who put chocolate finger’s everywhere,
who like to be tickled,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak popsicles before dinner,
who erase holes in their math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

But we are also responsible for those
who stare at photographers from behind broken windows,
who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never “counted potatoes”,
who were born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,
who live in an X-rated world.

We are responsible for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury the goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves with band-aids and sing off key,
who slurp their soup.

But we are also responsible for those
who never get desert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them suffer,
who can’t find any bread to steal,
who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We are responsible for children
who spend their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and who pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don’t like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church and scream on the phone,
whose tears sometimes make us laugh and whose smile sometimes make us cry.

And we are responsible for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We are responsible for children
who want to be carried and for those who must,
for those we will never give up on and
for those who don’t get a second chance,
and for those we smother and
for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

In 1971, the Carpenters sang the theme song from the movie Bless the Beasts and Children.  I’m all for blessing beasts, but by all means, let’s be sure and bless the children in our world.  If we don’t, who will?  And even more, let’s do it in the love and name of Jesus who said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).


  1. May I share this poem and if so who should the author, Amy O'Neal?

  2. You may certainly use this poem. When I received it there was no author's name attached to it. Amy didn't write it, I don't think. I'm working on the assumption that it's anonymous. Thanks for reading the blog.