HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
January 29, 2007, Herald Journal

Children the world over

By JENNI SEBORA

Children, the world over, experience and live in different “worlds” in terms of living conditions and home environments.

Some children have a family that loves them unconditionally. Some children go to bed feeling safe, secure and loved.

Some children go to bed each night hungry. Some children go to bed in fear.

We know some of these children. Many of them we don’t. But we do know that all children come into this world without a choice of who will take care of them or not take care of them; who will feed them or not feed them; who will love them or not love them.

As a mother, each time I held my newborn in my hands, I was struck by awe and still am, at the vast and awesome responsibility we have as parents and the overwhelming feeling that nothing is and ever will be more important to me than them.

‘This precious little human being is totally dependent on me for all its needs. I am her or his keeper’ was the thought that filled my mind and heart each time I held my new little one.

This new little being entered this world in my hands. A huge and almost overwhelming responsibility, but one I truly wanted. I wanted and continue to want my children to know that they are loved beyond words and that they are safe and secure in my, and my husband’s, care.

Parenting is a sacred vocation, I would argue, the most sacred there is. We, as parents and caregivers, do have awesome responsibilities to raise our children with love and safety.

We also know that every child needs and deserves to have their needs met and to grow up with love, safety, security and hope.

I found these written thoughts, a prayer, a couple of years ago, and I would like to share it. It is titled, “We Pray for Children,” written by Ina J. Hughs.

“We pray for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak Popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes.

“And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places in which we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an x-rated world.

“We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves with Band-aids and sing off-key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.

“And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, 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 pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub, who love visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the school bus, who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone.

“And we pray 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 and have no being.

“We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.

“We pray for all children.”