Listen to the Children Cry

November 17, 2009 @ 10:06 am by Jacqui Lewis

Yesterday at our church in the East Village, we celebrated National Children’s Sabbath.

I know that children are not everyone’s flavor, and I also know that they can be distracting in public places. Who doesn’t get annoyed when a baby starts shrieking on an airplane or in a movie theater? Personally, I really love children, but in THOSE moments, I find myself moving between, “what is wrong with that child’s parents?” to “did anyone think of putting Benadryl on the pacifier” to “that poor tired baby; maybe I should go and rock her!” A baby’s cry, especially a tired or hungry or angry cry, can pierce us right to our souls, right?

We celebrated our children so that we can listen more closely to their cries. Adults need to listen for meaning to the cries of little people. There is a cry that goes up each day in America. Each day in America, one child cries as his mother dies in childbirth. Four children cry each day before they are killed by abuse or neglect. Five children every day cry before they commit suicide. Eight children or teens cry, right before they are killed by firearms. Thirty three cry before they die from accidents. We need to hear the cries of the 192 children arrested each day for a violent crime and the cries of the 383 arrested for drug abuse.

When we listen to their cries we can learn how to respond. Parents learn to discern the “she is just tired” cry from the “he is in pain” cry. The children in our nation are in pain. When we listen carefully, we can know how to respond. They need our advocacy; children can’t advocate for themselves. The need our activism; children don’t’ have enough power often to be activists. They need our attention as we address making the nation and the world a safe and loving place for them. They are our future, they are our present. If we don’t act on their behalf, who will? If not now, when?

For more information on how to help our nation’s children, go to

About This Blog

Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.

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