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FAMILY FUSION: Cherish our children

Reverend Haynesley Griffith, [email protected]

FAMILY FUSION: Cherish our children

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“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”  – Richard L. Evans

SCIENTISTS WHO RESEARCH the Central African silverback (male) gorillas opened my eyes to the very interesting behaviour that these animals display, especially when their family members are under threat. 

Research informs that the most senior silverback gorilla is often in command of the entire troop of family members. These creatures are extremely protective of their troop and will aggressively beat their chests as a warning to anything they perceive as seeking to harm any member of the family. They make loud noises, send off an offensive odour and throw missiles at the approaching threat. 

The strong emotions of the silverback gorilla reminds me of Jesus’ reaction on few occasions while living here on earth in human flesh. He did not hide His emotions when helpless individuals, especially the children, were under threat by insensitive adults. One of those times is recorded in the narrative found in Mark 10:13-16, where parents were constantly bringing their children for Jesus to touch them, but His disciples were chasing them away.

Jesus was so upset that He publicly scolded the disciples, telling them never to allow such a dismissive action to occur again. Although He did not beat his chest and behave in as aggressive a manner as the silverback gorilla, it was very clear from his strong expressions that he was prepared to defend these little ones at any cost. 

After rebuking His disciples, Jesus made a profound statement that conveys how God feels about children: “Allow the children to come to Me – do not forbid or prevent or hinder them – for to such belongs the Kingdom of God.” On this occasion Jesus was very busy empowering the adults, but He quickly turned to address the injustice that was being meted out to the children. What an excellent example He was setting for us as adults to protect the children when they are facing injustices.   

Caring manner

I marvel at the tender and caring manner in which Jesus proceeded to treat the children and parents. To my mind, there are four powerful principles Jesus was laying down for adults, especially parents,

to adopt when dealing with children. Let us consider the spiritual, emotional, social and physical principles.

Spiritually, Jesus was delighted in showing everyone how valuable and precious the children are to God’s Kingdom. This message was conveyed through Him publicly blessing them. This act was a clear indication of how important He viewed spiritually bonding with every child no matter their status in life.

The Bible, as a tool for moral and spiritual education, appears to be becoming less prominent in homes and schools today; the result of which may be reflected in the anti-God and anti-church trends among some young parents in modern times. The biblical injunction is still for parents to lay a good, solid scriptural base in the lives of their children. In 2 Timothy 3:14, Paul spoke of how Timothy’s mother taught him the scripture from childhood and that wisdom had resulted from such sound teaching. I believe that fewer children would be at risk today if parents would bring up their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”. 

Emotionally, Jesus, by His actions toward the children, was demonstrating the importance of emotionally bonding with them. The children had just experienced rejection from adults who should have known better. They may have felt a sense of hurt. Jesus gave those children feelings of love and security by individually picking them up in His arms and speaking positively into their lives. Bonding with a child emotionally can lift his/her self-esteem level and give them the coping power to deal with life’s many challenges.

Socially, Jesus displayed the importance of children to the community by bonding with both them and their parents before a large crowd of adults. To my mind, Jesus sent the message that children must be seen as an integral part of the community and have a valuable part to play in helping to shape it. The community on a whole must play a significant part in helping to add positive values to these young lives.  

Physically, Jesus was making a statement of the importance of positively touching these children by holding them in His arms and making them feel safe from those who were rejecting and devaluing them.

Well-documented research confirms the power of physical touch in enhancing the well-being of children.

If each person in society can follow the principles displayed by Jesus,

I believe that many of our community’s social and other ills can be greatly minimised if not totally eliminated. Let us truly cherish our children.

• Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email griffitharticles­