A Child's Future is Now and Not Tomorrow

parenting

A Child's Future is Now and Not Tomorrow

There is never time to say our last word
-- the last word of our love or remorse.

--Joseph Conrad

It is one thing to read (or write) about bringing up children, and quite another to actually do it. Words are easy to come by; so are anecdotes and suggestions. Yet without deeds, the soundest educational theory is useless, as is the most trustworthy parental instinct. When all is said and done, we must put away our books and go out to find the children who need our love.

In our country alone there are thousands, possibly millions, of children who have never felt the tenderness that every child deserves; who go to bed hungry and lonely and cold; who, though housed by the parents who conceived them, know little of the love of true parenthood. Add to that the numberless children for whom such love can never become a reality, even if desired, because the cruel cycle of poverty and crime has landed father or mother or both behind bars. Still, we cannot despair.

If only a fraction of us who have resources were willing to commit our energy and time to helping one endangered child, even our own child, many might be saved. And even if our kindness takes the shape of the smallest, most negligible act, it will, like every deed of love, never be wasted. Invisible as it might be on its own, it will still carry meaning; together with others it may have power to change the world.

Such promises might ring hollow, but that is not because they are empty. It is because we have forgotten that the tie that binds one generation to the next means far more than the sharing of blood. As humanity's oldest and strongest bond, the love between a parent and a child is a gift for the future -- an inheritance for posterity.

Unfortunately, the wreckage that so often passes for family life these days leads some people to be fatalistic about the way things are. But why should these pessimists have the last word? Dorothy Day writes:

The sense of futility is one of the greatest evils of the day ... People say, "What can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?" They cannot see that we can only lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment.

This wisdom -- the importance of living in the present -- is another of the many lessons children could teach us, if we were willing to lay aside our adult "solutions" long enough to hear theirs. As Assata Shakur admonished a crowd of activists bent on changing the world:

We need to include children, to make space for them, to let them be part of the social transformation... Children are the most important source of optimism on this planet. But we've tended not to listen to them, not to pay attention to the wisdom that comes out of their mouths.

It is often said that children "are our future" or that we must educate them "for the future." While the sentiment is understandable, it is also a limiting one. There is nothing like the joy of anticipation: of watching one's children grow, marking the development of their personalities, and wondering and waiting to see what they will become. But as long as we have children entrusted to our care, we cannot forget that the demands they make on us must be answered in the present.

There is always a tomorrow, but how can we be sure it will be ours? There are always new chances, but how many will we let become missed opportunities and regrets? For the sake of a child, are we ready to drop everything -- not begrudgingly, but with joy? If we cannot answer these questions, perhaps we have not learned the most important lesson of all: that whatever a child needs in the way of guidance, security, and love, he needs now.

Many things can wait. Children cannot.
Today their bones are being formed, their blood
is being made, their senses are being developed.
To them we cannot say "tomorrow."
Their name is today.

                                   -- Gabriela Mistral

Article reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Plough Publishing House. ©2000. http://www.plough.com

Article Source:

Endangered: Your Child in a Hostile World
by Johann Christoph Arnold.

Endangered: Your Child in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph ArnoldIf our children are ever going to be whole adults, they need an environment in which they can be children. But how, with the pressing demands of life, can we make time and space for our children? How can we protect them from the onslaught of influences and pressures that rob them of their innocence? It's a dilemma every caring mother or father knows. "Endangered" challenges and encourages every parent, grandparent, teacher, and policymaker to rediscover and defend the preciousness of childhood. Because in the end, if we are willing to put them first, our children can give us something greater than we could ever give them.

Info/Order this book.

About the Author

parentingJohann Christoph Arnold, a father of eight with over thirty years experience as a family counselor, draws on a wealth of experience gleaned from a lifetime in the Bruderhof, a community movement dedicated to providing children with an environment where they are free to be children. An outspoken social critic, Arnold has advocated on behalf of children and teens around the world, from Baghdad and Havana to Littleton and New York. He has been a guest on over 100 talk shows, and a speaker at many colleges and high schools. His numerous books on sex, marriage, parenting, forgiving, dying, and finding peace have sold over 200,000 copies in English and have been translated into eight foreign languages. Visit the author's website at http://www.plough.com/Endangered.

More books by this Author

Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life

parentingAuthor: Johann Christoph Arnold
Binding: Paperback
Brand: Ingram Publisher Services
Creator(s):
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Studio: Plough Publishing House
Label: Plough Publishing House
Publisher: Plough Publishing House
Manufacturer: Plough Publishing House

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Editorial Review: Johann Christoph Arnold, admired by such prominent spiritual and inspirational leaders as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Cardinal Dolan, Pete Seeger, and many more, offers answers to the question: Why shouldn't growing older be rewarding?

Arnold, whose books have helped over a million readers through life's challenges, shows us the spiritual riches that age has to offer. Now in his seventies, Arnold finds himself personally facing the challenges of aging with grace.

With a foreword by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Rich in Years covers the significant topics facing the aging, the elderly, and their family and caregivers: accepting changes, combatting loneliness, and continuing on with purpose and hope. Going beyond mere inspiration, Arnold does not shy away from such difficult topics as coping with dementia, the prospect of dying, and enduring with dignity. Through faith and a true spirituality, he says, we can find acceptance and serenity.

Johann Christoph Arnold knows, from decades of pastoral experience, what older people and their caregivers can do to make the most of the journey of aging. In this book, he shares stories of people who, in growing older, have found both peace and purpose. Praising Rich in Years, Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, writes, In simple language, Arnold gives hope-filled insights into the trials of aging for people of all ages. Pastor Arnold's book challenges those rich in years to also remain rich in faith.




Seeking Peace: Notes and Conversations along the Way

parentingAuthor: Johann Christoph Arnold
Binding: Paperback
Creator(s):
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  • Thich Nhat Hanh

Studio: Plough Publishing House
Label: Plough Publishing House
Publisher: Plough Publishing House
Manufacturer: Plough Publishing House

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Editorial Review: Where can we find peace of heart and mind--with ourselves, with others, and with God? Arnold says most people are looking in the wrong direction. In a culture that bombards us with feel-good-about-yourself spirituality, Seeking Peace is sure to satisfy a deep hunger. There is a peace greater than self-fulfilment, a peace greater than nations no longer at war. But it will demand a relentless pursuit kept up only by hope and courage, vision and commitment.

Seeking Peace explores many facets of humankind's ageless search for peace. It plumbs a wealth of spiritual traditions and draws on the wisdom of some exceptional (and some very ordinary) people who have found peace in surprising places.

Independent Publisher Book Award winner

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Why Forgive?

parentingAuthor: Johann Christoph Arnold
Binding: Paperback
Creator(s):
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Studio: Plough Publishing House
Label: Plough Publishing House
Publisher: Plough Publishing House
Manufacturer: Plough Publishing House

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Editorial Review: In Why Forgive? Arnold lets the untidy experiences of ordinary people speak for themselves--people who have earned the right to talk about forgiving.

Some of these stories deal with violent crime, betrayal, abuse, hate, gang warfare, and genocide. Others address everyday hurts: the wounds caused by backbiting, gossip, conflicts in the home, and tensions in the workplace. The book also tackles what can be the biggest challenge: forgiving ourselves.

These people, who have overcome the cancer of bitterness and hatred, can help you unleash the healing power of forgiveness in your own life.

Why Forgive? these stories and decide for yourself.




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