We must protect God's most precious gift

amp”In this old world ain’t but three things worth a solitary dime…that’s old dogs, children, and watermelon wine…amp”
Tom T. Hall’s song from the 1970s struck a special cord in my heart this morning as I listened to it on my way to work. It has stayed in my head and heart all day. Tears that had been held back since the night before flowed freely as Hall’s velvet voice sang, amp”…God bless little children while they’re still too young to hate.amp”
My low mood that was made lower by this song, began last night as I watched the evening news. At first it was a delightful scene. I saw a precious 8-year-old girl, happily skipping along a street. The scene suddenly changed to that of a woman in an orange jail-house-issue jump suit.
That precious little girl isn’t skipping anymore. Why? It is alleged that the woman in the orange suit (who happens to be the little girl’s Sunday School teacher) killed her, stuffed her in a suitcase, and then threw the suitcase into a pond.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, bothers me like hearing of harm being done to a child. That is especially true if the harm is inflicted by those that children are suppose to trust; parents, teachers (Sunday School and otherwise), preachers, or neighbors.
Killing a child is something that is unthinkable and yet it happens, just as child abuse in other forms happens. Words can do great harm to those to young to understand why they are being berated.
Many times the only way children know to defend themselves is to release frustrations in the form of aggressiveness, bad grades, and other negative behavior.
Berating a child with words is almost as harmful as physical abuse, and such is not discipline. It is ignorance on the part of the one doing the berating. There are two things that children never forget. One is encouragement and the other is the opposite. Those of us who call ourselves Christians have a great responsibility.
Can you imagine what a child must think of someone who goes to church every time the doors open but yet never have an encouraging word for them?
Just as cruel words can hurt, kind words do just the opposite. A well known and respected TV preacher said as a young boy he had no self confidence. He felt he could do nothing right. One day her heard his teacher say to another teacher, amp”Charles is such a well behaved, nice young man. He will be a success at whatever he does.amp”
He said her words changed his life and from the moment he heard them he felt he was somebody special! He went on to say that classroom teachers have the ability to make or break a child’s self esteem. So do parents and others. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
I don’t know a thing about the watermelon wine that Tom T. sings about. As for old dogs, it is true they are great friends. But a child is the most precious gift God gives us. They must be loved, protected, and respected.
I don’t know how there can be any defense for harming them.
LaVale Mills is publisher of The Red Bay News, P.O. Box 1339, Red Bay, AL 35582.

Alisha Wilson

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