Aug 19 2008

A Child in the Midst

In the midst One of the great Bible stories we love to talk about at Compassion is when Jesus brought a child into the midst of a conversation He was having with the disciples (Matthew 18). Jesus pretty much stopped a very serious discussion and turned His focus to a child. And, in doing so, He brought that child to the attention of the entire crowd.

I wonder, what impact it would have had if a child had been “in the midst” of different events in history?

What if a child had been in the room during the penning of the Declaration of Independence?

Do you think our founding fathers would have addressed the importance of children by adding a line stating they were seeking independence “for the future of our children?”

Look at John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signing of the Declaration:

Now imagine how that image changes if a child is added to the scene.

How many wars would never have started if a child had been in the war planning room.

Imagine a child asking, “But why? Why do you want to hurt those mommies and daddies?” … or better yet, “Are you going to hurt the children too?”

(Over the past ten years, more children have died as the result of wars than soldiers.)

What other moments in history might have changed, if a child had been “in the midst?”

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19 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Aug 19, 2008
    at 8:01 am

    In Lincoln’s booth at Ford theater, Kennedy’s car in Dallas, or the abortionist’s examining rooms.

  2. Tim Glenn
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 11:17 am

    Those are good, Juli. I also wondered about what difference it would have made, if a child was in the room in 1973, when the Supreme Court was deciding on Roe vs.Wade.

  3. Aug 19, 2008
    at 4:56 pm

    I would also recommend adding a picture of a FAMILY in those scenes! If there were just a child in the declaration of independence photo, I’d be asking who’s kid is that?!?! Aren’t they going to distract from what is going on?!?! (I’m picturing Guiliani’s son at his NYC mayoral inauguration!)

    Also, I understand your point, but be careful of the statistics you use. Citing children dying in wars in the last 10 years, I’m immediately thinking you’re bashing what the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afganistan! (probably not your intention at all) I’m willing to bet a good majority of those children (cited in the UNICEF article) were a part of the genocides that have occurred in Africa (e.g. Rwanda)

  4. Aug 19, 2008
    at 6:20 pm

    Very interesting perspective, especially since I work with children forty hours a week… valuing their very presence is so important.

  5. Aug 19, 2008
    at 10:01 pm

    I’m really loving these photos showing up in the sidebar each day — such as these children in Mexico!

  6. Aug 20, 2008
    at 8:30 am

    I appreciate this post and the perspective you offered, Tim. I really tried to think of other places and times when the presence of a child “in their midst” might have made a positive difference. But the more I tried, the more situations I thought of where the presence of children means they are badly used, abused and otherwise put in grave danger. Too often, children are seen and used as disposable tools. And I’m not referring only to such use of children as suicide bombers or in child prostitution; we find ways to showcase children, in this country, for our own (often political) purposes, without regard for what is really best for them.

    I’m sorry; I know this is a really negative post and I wasn’t going to say anything, since I couldn’t think of a positive picture. But . . . the reality is that the presence of one or more children often does not work to their good.

  7. Aug 20, 2008
    at 12:20 pm

    The issue of war is a very difficult one. I can definitely understand what Steve K. is saying, especially with the war in Iraq, Sadam was torturing little children. It’s such a tough decision whether a war is right or wrong and the thing with wars is that the general public isn’t (for very good reasons) given all of the facts involved to really make a well educated decision. It’s difficult.

    One thing I can’t help but think of is what happened with my mom and dad during Worldwar II, especially my mom. My mom and her family lived near the port of Rotterdam. During the German occupation, a lot of German Navy ships were in the port, just less than a mile from her home. The allied forces decided to bomb the ship port, but they missed their target and one of the bombs ended up falling on my mom’s home and her neighbours. (The homes were all connected). Well, it ended up destroying her whole home with all of her possessions. The neighbours next door were a doctor family who had about 10 children and also had a waiting room full of patients. The bomb killed everyone in the home. She never felt bitter towards the allied forces ever. As a matter of a fact, I asked her earlier this year what attracted her to my dad and one of the main things was that he had been in the USA and she liked the USA.

    It’s tough though. I do think that if a nation goes to war, they need to make sure to keep civilian casualties to a minimum. We can really pray right now for the families in Georgia. The Russian government has turned Checian mercernaries on them, particularly the families.

    Going back to Compassion. I told a few of my children that my mom’s home had been bombed away. I also like to send pictures and one of the pictures, I send was of a little stonen figure of a little girl. It’s the only thing that survived and my mom gave it to me, so I have it in my home. I sent the children a picture of it. I just got one of the letters, where one of the children commented about it. But the translation was kind of funny. It called it a “rock girl!” I though they were talking about some rockstar or so and then all of sudden, I realized that’s what they must be talking about! :-)

    Tim, Thanks for bringing this prospective too. I’m going to be thinking about it!


  8. Tim Glenn
    Aug 20, 2008
    at 12:42 pm

    Oh, that’s actually a piece of the conversation that I was hoping someone would bring up, Vicki…what about those times where a child in the midst ISN’T a good thing?

    Good points. For example, some of the ideas given here in comments: I’m actually glad there WASN’T a child in the car with JFK on the day. And I’m glad Lincoln wasn’t sitting next to a child in Ford Theatre.

    There are definitely times/places/opportunities where a child in the midst could have had a positive outcome…but definitely some where the outcome would have been negative as well.

  9. Aug 20, 2008
    at 5:27 pm

    I was thinking that if Lincoln’s son was beside him, or Kennedy’s children in the car, perhaps they wouldn’t have fired a shot. However, in the case of the abortionist’s examining room, there IS a child present, and yet they are willing to kill anyway.

  10. Heather
    Aug 20, 2008
    at 9:41 pm

    Sometimes I don’t think if children were present it would make much of a difference. Many “Third World” countries and regimes like Uganda,Burma and usually other African countries and militias in these places use child soldiers to commit unspeakable and untypable horrors and atrocities. Some use children as human shields even.
    Some things maybe having a child present would change them but other things I don’t think would even change.
    Sorry about the depressing post but this is pretty much reality…

  11. Aug 21, 2008
    at 12:03 am

    I think the important thing in the blog is to remember the children and when watching the news, evaluate how it effects children. For instance tomorrow, Fay will be crossing our town Gainesville. All the children will be out of school for that day. (Of course, I have to be honest, when I was that age, I probably would have regarded that as a good thing! LOL!)

    But that was just an example, there are other examples, like the war in Georgia and an earthquake in China, etc…



  12. Heather
    Aug 21, 2008
    at 12:44 am

    Ur rite Kees!I always think of all the childrens suffering first.When Fay hit Haiti they were the first ones I prayed for. I just thought Id add the sobering,no rose colored glasses outlook to the post though. So many societies do not place much value on childrens lives!

  13. Dana Young
    Jul 3, 2009
    at 7:24 am

    Being an active duty military member, I have a strong desire to see violence of all types stopped. Starting with what is on my tv. I am so blessed to be raising my children in a multi-national environment. My children interact with other children from Germany, Holland, Italy, Belgium, about 15 different countries. They get to see early that everyone is different and that is ok. They will not experience racism till they get back to the States. I wish we could all remeber the little ones that are playing when we plan our attacks or counter-attacks. I also believe we should do away with the words, “collateral damage.” As long as this world continues to exist there will be war, unfortunately. Alot of it is caused by ignorance and fear. But there is still a lot of good left in this world. I know there are at least 1,000,000 people that believe that.

  14. Mike Stephens
    Jul 3, 2009
    at 7:33 am

    Proverbs 16:33 “Even the things that seem accidental were really ordered by Him!!!!!!!” (Amplified)

    I think of Abraham and his son Isaac…definitely a child present in that situation, but God intervened.

    I think of the flood when all of mankind drowned.

  15. James Lanchester
    Jul 3, 2009
    at 11:19 am

    I thought of another one, it could be positive, and it could be negative, unfortunately there is no way of knowing ahead of time. A rule stating that the children must be present at all meetings preparing a divorce.

  16. Valerie Long
    Jul 4, 2009
    at 8:36 am

    I really love that Compassion goes back through and reposts some of the posts from the archives as I just joined this blog about 7-8 months ago.

    I was reading what Vicki said about sometimes politicians use children for their own agendas without really caring about the children. The first thing that came to mind for me is the “No Child Left Behind” law. Now, I know that some of our politicians thought they were doing the right thing with this bill, but the fact is, it hasn’t done a whole lot of good and in some instances has even done more harm than good.

    I don’t know a LOT about politics, but just based on what I know about the bill, they probably didn’t have anyone from the education field actually help craft the bill. I say this because most people in the education field will tell you that when you have things like this, everyone ends up teaching exactly what the kids need just for the test and nothing else. Not to mention that standardized tests fail in so many ways since they don’t take into consideration anyone who learns differently or can’t take tests.

    I wonder what, if anything, it would’ve changed to have a class of children or a group of teachers in the room when they made that bill.

    I also look at my generation and wonder what would’ve happened if there’d been a child in the room when they decided to take arts out of the schools. My generation was the first to receive all those cuts in funding and I look at what we’ve come up with for movies, tv, toys, etc. and it’s obvious from the fact that so many things have been brought back from our childhood that my generation has no imagination of their own. And that’s what happens when kids aren’t exposed to the arts. It’s sad. And while I don’t know if it would’ve changed anything, I would hope that having children in the room when that decision was made would’ve made some sort of a difference.

    When I read what Vicki said about politicians using kids to promote their own agendas, those were the two things that almost immediately popped into my head.

  17. Jul 5, 2009
    at 9:10 pm

    I was just rethinking this. From what I understand one of the primary reasons for the USA forming was because of the children. The Christians wanted to be able to give the children an education that was God honoring and that was based on the Scriptures. So, they went to Holland in the Mayflower, but didn’t find it there and then went to new world, America, where they could have the freedome. So, a child was definitely in the very reasoning of the founding fathers of the USA. Or more importantly, God was in their thinking as it related to raising their children. It is interesting that now we have removed God from the classrooms and we see all sorts of problems.


  18. Carmen
    Jul 7, 2009
    at 4:13 pm

    I would like to make the point that many of the Founding Fathers WERE thinking of their children when decideing to wage war against their oppressors. If you read the letters of John Adams, for example, you will find that he was very devoted to his children and wanted safety and freedom for them–and for future generations of children. The men who signed the Declaration did not “want mommies and daddies to be hurt” or to “hurt the children.” They were not intending to marginalize children by “starting” a war, but rather intended to protect what they saw as God-given freedoms of their children, which were being taken away by a tyrant king. They WERE “seeking independence for the future of their children.” John Adams sacrificed many years away from his family so that his children and ours could enjoy the freedoms we have. Personally, I am glad that the decisions made by the Founding Fathers did not change, and that they did decide to fight tyranny. The absence of a line in the Declaration does not mean that they didn’t care about children. The Americans who sacrificed their lives in the Revolution were not trying to hurt anyone’s mommies and daddies. Those brave people did more for the children of this country than we will ever know. It is a misinterpretation of history to imply otherwise. This post really disappoints me. Just saying.

  19. Carmen
    Jul 7, 2009
    at 4:37 pm

    p.s. and besides, it is in the preamble to the Constitution.

    “…and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

    This WAS one of their goals. (Posterity = future generations of children).

    Just saying. :-)

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