How many children do we see who loose heart? For those who work among the incarcerated or homeless populations it is a daily issue. It is also a problem where schools do not finds ways to meet their responsibility to educate and where hunger is a part of school failures. Our culture demands children "keep up with the Jones" in new and frustrating ways so children whose families are struggling financially suffer both from financial want and again at the hands of children and adults who value them based on the clothes they wear and the electronics they own.
Those of us who embrace the teachings of Jesus dare not turn away from the challenges of the children who are our future citizens. It is not only foolish and dangerous, it is directly in conflict with the words Jesus spoke and the way He lived and the actions He took.
All churches have a responsibility to welcome and support young families, single parents, grandparents with extraordinary responsibilities for a grandchild or grandchildren. A hundred years ago the death of a parent was far more common and many children in orphanages had a living parent who could not both financially support a minor child and care for that minor child. The details have changed, but we are still called to be kind and helpful and responsive to "widows and orphans" no matter how the loss occurred. And where possible, we need to provide support and restoration where a missing parent seeks to gently rebuild relationships and return to a productive place in the community.
When we stand in loco parentis with disheartened children, we all need to bring our best game, long-term commitment and a heart to be the hands and feet of God.
We all win when children are treated with dignity and given the tools to lead productive, Christ-centered lives.