25th October 2021

I’ve been thinking about children… A teenager has nightmares after learning of the fatal stabbing, of a boy not much older than him, in the local park. A ten-year-old on a radio broadcast worries about climate change and parts of the world becoming uninhabitable, even his own city. A former colleague suggests to BBC local news viewers, that it’s the responsibility of adults to reduce transmission of COVID-19 (through mask wearing and doing lateral flow tests) to protect children so they can continue going to school.

Where does Christian faith come into our responsibility as adults, towards the children we share this world with? What can we do to help stop the real-life nightmares? How can we lighten the burden on children’s shoulders; offer genuine signs of hope in a, sometimes, scary world? Answers on a postcard…?!

We tend to try and do all we can to alleviate children’s worries. Can we harness this desire to protect, as motivation to do something towards some of their societal and global concerns and needs? In a recent sermon, Keith Clements shared examples of the smallest of positive actions that had snowballed with profound impacts.

John Bell, of the Iona Community, notes that hymns learnt before we reach school age can stay with us for life (“What shall we tell the children”). Christian practice encountered in childhood can have a life-long impact. John Bell references “Godly Play”, sometimes used at Tyndale. How might we find further appropriate ways, individually or through the church, to let children see how the God of love helps us and is alongside us as we navigate some of life’s difficulties?

Ruth Allen