Raising Healthy Children: It Takes a Village
There has always been forces working against children and families regardless of race, education, socio-economic class, or faith. These forces (i.e. the negatives of life) attempt to delay, derail, and deny children of the freedom, peace, joy, and prosperity that God has promised to all. As examples think about some of the major US headlines in the recent past – from Columbine to Sandy Hook, bullying, gang violence, youth suicide, teen pregnancy, child abuse & neglect, high school drop out rates, increasing use of psychiatric drugs on minors, etc. it becomes very clear to see how these forces have been combating our children to rob them of the ability simply live and thrive.
If children are the future of tomorrow then where is the hope for them? How can change come for our kids today in the here and now? Who and what can buffer and destroy the forces working against them? Who or what can bring peace and give safe passage to adulthood? I believe and know only Love can …and “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Since the very beginning the Lord has been pursuing a love relationship with us – all of humanity (Genesis 3:8a). He tells us that His love is patient and kind. It does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. He says His love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). He tells us in His word “greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and shows this love for us through Jesus Christ …”in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
Love heals, delivers, destroys all evil, protects, and gives life. Love is power and it is the greatest force. He (God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit) is greater than any evil attempting to steal the childhood of children. Our Father has put everything under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:27 & Ephesians 1:22). That “everything” includes all the forces attempting to work against and harm our children today. God is love. He pursues relationships with us so that we too can be filled with His love and have that power to show and give love to others in relationship.
There is much truth in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” …and make no mistake that the hearts of those villagers are filled with love. So, who are those villagers that are showing the love of God to the least of these (Matthew 25:40)? Who are those villagers that are being the hands and feet of Jesus by showing compassion and mercy to children? They are you – the parents, care givers, aunts, uncles, sisters, bothers, god-parents, friends, teachers, mentors, neighbors, etc. who show up and reach out to children in positive ways. It’s people like you who take the time to care for, encourage, and support your child and other children that help them to grow up successfully into who God made them to be. It is because of the actions you take in love towards your child and other children that counteracts and destroys every attempt of the devil to rob kids of their childhood. It is because of people like you who never stop loving, never stop caring, never stop believing in your child and other children that bring hope for a brighter tomorrow and for that we thank you!