Lift Up the Next Generationshared by
with the assistance of CDF Children’s Sabbath materials
Faith Initiative Coordinator for Early Childhood, Durham’s Partnership for Children
October 16, 2011
Imagine our nation in five years. We have cut child poverty in half, and are on our way to ending it. Hard-working families are earning a living wage and have the needed tax credits so that they are bringing in enough income to put nutritious food on the table and provide a safe home for the family. The children leave the table nourished, and don’t worry about the next meal. The youngest children are engaged and stimulated from their earliest days, exposed to the world of books through their parents or caregivers or Head Start teachers, readying their eager minds for a lifetime of learning. Every school age child is expected and supported to achieve. Teachers, administrators, parents, and community members work together for the success of every child.
Young people are hopeful and strong, equipped with academic skills to expect and achieve success. Opportunities in the future are real enough to young people that they call forth the self-discipline and effort to reach them. Crime rates have plummeted, and there’s a greater sense of community as adults and young people are connecting with each other with mutual respect.
Every place of worship has found its role in supporting the success of all children. Some are nurturing mother and child in their early days; others are supporting positive parenting, while others help with children’s school success or work readiness and connections. Some places of worship house child care programs while others send volunteers to enroll children in health coverage. Members of Congress know that vocal, visible people of faith will stand up and speak out for justice for children, and elected officials look for ways to be a champion for children.
What do children need from religious leaders and people of faith today?
- Be present and to care (day in / day out)
- help with their struggles to make it through childhood
- Help reweave the fabric of our community so essential for family stability
- Present integrity and lived example of what it means to be a person of faith
- Have a caring presence when the families fail, hurt or cannot care
- Provide rituals, moral clarity, examples of faithful community of disciplined caring
- Give unconditional love
- Assurance that God will never abandon them - through our unfailing roles as God’s surrogates
- See children, speak to them, smile at them, compliment them
- See children as sacred children of God, each equal to all others and born in the image of God vs. born in the image of BET or the latest American definition of external beauty
- Give our countercultural voice and guidance in a world of false prophets sprouting false values
- Stand up and demand what’s right for children ... not just yours but all children
What’s your vision for children in Durham? What is your role in making it happen?
- Connect with your concern and commitment (gifts, talents, time, resources - what are you called to do with your gifts?)
- Learn more about the issue
- Inform and recruit others to get involved
- Get involved - put your prayers into action:
- read to a young child (Genesis House), or
- host a “play date” at a faith facility, or
- host a “mom’s night out”, or
- sponsor a music class, or
- donate board books to underserved families
- Be a voice for change and for justice - speak out to our political leaders