Here are some figures you may not know about.
Every second a public school student is suspended.
Every 11 seconds a high school student drops out.
Every 19 seconds a child is arrested.
Every 19 seconds a baby is born to an unmarried mother.
Every 32 seconds a baby is born into poverty.
Every 41 seconds a child is confirmed as abused or neglected.
Every 42 seconds a baby is born without health insurance.
Every minute a baby is born to a teen mother.
Every minute a baby is born at low birthweight.
Every 4 minutes a child is arrested for a drug offense.
Every 7 minutes a child is arrested for a violent crime.
Every 18 minutes a baby dies before his or her first birthday.
Every 45 minutes a child or teen dies from an accident.
Every 3 hours a child or teen is killed by a firearm.
Every 5 hours a child or teen commits suicide.
Every 6 hours a child is killed by abuse or neglect.
(Source: Children’s Defense Fund, 2009)
Our children are born into an increasingly unsafe world. Their parents are too often children themselves, unable to give their children what they don’t have themselves.
The Episcopal Diocese of Newark has identified 2011 as a year of concern for the needs of children. The point is not to make 2011 “special,” but to raise awareness and begin to make change for our children. This follows the lead of Jesus, who said that whoever welcomes a little child in his name welcomes him (Luke 9:48).
What can you do, when your children are grown? Well, you can love your grandchildren. But more: you can love and support our wonderful children and youth at church. They need your wisdom and your attention, even if it’s just a hello or a question about their day. You can volunteer to work with children and young people. You can advocate for the needs of children. You can attend the workshop on May 19 at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, where they will discuss the justice needs of children.
And you can come to church this Sunday, when our young people will be leading worship. You can root for them and applaud them as they claim their faith in public.
Somewhere, someone taught you about the love of God. They likely did that by loving you. Now you have the chance to show another generation that the love of God includes them. Pray for those who come of age in this world of challenges. Tell them how important they are. Tell God how much you wish for them.
God bless you all this week, and throughout the Easter season.