by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 5/22/14

For our children, youth, and college students, this is the season for recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments. In these days of May, our schedules are filled with award programs, recitals, end-of-the-year concerts, sports tournaments, and graduations. We attend these events with our children, and our minds begin to reflect on how far they have come over the past year.
We look at these children and we wonder where the time has gone. Where we once saw chubby baby faces, we now see the beauty of young adulthood peeking through their eyes and smiles. Talents just seem to burst forth from our children and youth. Over the year, they have learned to play the piano, or sing with passion, or hit a ball with power. They have discovered the joy of reading and the pride of mastering algebra. It seems like there is no end to how they will amaze us as they grow and mature each year.
It is the season to celebrate accomplishments but it is also a season to remember how much our children and youth need guidance in their lives. Learning and growing doesn’t just happen. Children need direction. They need parents. They need teachers. They need coaches. They need God.
Our children are dependent on us to lead them to God. It has been said that children reach for God by standing on the shoulders of their parents. This statement has to open our eyes to how much our children need spiritual direction in their lives. Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund and a voice for children. She says that in the community where she grew up there was this idea that “they wrapped children in a cocoon of caring and activity. And they knew that the care of the mind and the body needed to be grounded in the care of the spirit, which was the glue that held our families and our community together.”
Children need that glue and they need our guidance. I was so pleased that the hymn chosen for the Hymn of Commitment at the end of our Youth Sunday worship service was “Guide My Feet.” Did you listen to the words? “Guide my feet while I run this race. Hold my hand while I run this race. Stand by me while I run this race, for I don’t want to run this race in vain.” I felt like it was a plea from our children to us—a reminder of what they need from the adults in their lives. They need us to guide them, to hold onto their hands, and to stand beside them. May we be about the work of providing guidance, direction, and security for our children. May we give them the spiritual glue that they need to hold them together when they walk through dark times.
In this season, look into the faces of the children in your life. Look at the changes that have taken place and rejoice. Listen as they call to us to guide their feet. May we respond with a fresh commitment to lifting up our children so that they can see God.