Children: More than a Grammer Lesson

Armodoxy for Today: Children’s Grammer Lesson

Somewhere in our education process, either in elementary school or in Junior High, we learn about the elements in a simple sentence. There is a noun and a verb, and sometime there is an object. The object is a noun or a pronoun that is acted upon by the verb. For our discussion, “Mothers bear children,” “Fathers love children” and “Parents raise children” are three examples of simple sentences with a noun – mother, father and parent – a verb – bear, love and raise – and, in a common object – children. Unique to this object is that it also defines the nouns. Without children, the words mother, father and parent have no meaning.

Today, children are sometimes the forgotten elements, not of sentences, but of life. We hear stories of celebrities falling in and out of love, and their children are a footnote, if even that, to the story. We are alarmed by cases of domestic violence, focusing on the barbarism played out on a spouse, without tending to the impact on children. Politicians – presidents, prime ministers and senators declare wars and engage in battles with a heavy cost on children, including the ones who are weaponized as soldier.

Jesus quickly turns the script. “Let the children come to me, for to such belong the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19) Note, the children are the nouns and Jesus is the object. But this has not been a lesson in grammar, but a lesson on the primacy of children for God. Their angels, Jesus tells us, see the face of God. (Matthew 18)

It’s been said that there are no atheists in foxholes. A foxhole is a place below the ground used by soldiers as shelter against enemy fire.  The phrase is an aphorism to suggest that in times of extreme fear or threat of death people will appeal to a higher power. In other words, when looking in the face of death, even the atheist will admit to a God.

Many years ago, I discovered another place where there are no atheists. The night my first child was born, it occurred to me that there aren’t any atheists in birthing rooms, either. When looking in the face of life, in its most delicate and novel state, you realize that the loss of your emotions is a connection to something greater than yourself. The details of fingernails that are thinner than paper point to life as anything but an accident.

I tested the theory a couple of times after that first experience. Same conclusion: There are no atheists in birthing rooms. And there is no greater message of hope and love than children.

We pray a prayer from Archbishop Hovnan Derderian’s “Prayers for Children”:  Lord, my God, You created the world the day and the night, the skies and the earth, the waters and the land, the stars and the moon, the trees and the flowers. Let my prayer be a call for the peace of the world, so that we may cherish and embrace Your glorious creation. Amen.

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