The sights and sounds of our front yard differ depending on the time of day. When school is out our boys are often seen throwing the ball, with our little white Maltese standing watch. However, when school is in session there is a different sound in the neighborhood. It is the sound of other children at play. The playground of the neighborhood school a block from our home isn't more than a hundred yards away. Our boys attend another school, about a mile from here, so the sounds I hear on days I am around the house are the sounds of other people's children.
The sound of children at play is high-pitched and steady. We can remember from our own youth what kind of games illicit such sounds: tag, chase, cowboys, and the like. The details of the game never mattered much when we were that age, as long as we could stretch our legs and were not behind a desk. But, on this day, the sounds matter a great deal. It is a sound that is more important and more precious today.
The news coverage out of Newtown, Connecticut today is terrible. Children and adults killed in senseless violence. Our nation is praying for those families. I am. I trust you are, too. Let our prayers not stop before they turn us to a deepened commitment to care and concern for other's people children every day and not just on days like this. I will embrace my children more tightly today. May it not stop there. For me or for you. May our passion for raising children to mature into adults who care for others and don't do harm extend beyond our own.
The sound of someone else's children at play reminds me of what a precious stewardship we have been given on this earth. Many have rightly proposed that we are measured by how we treat other people's children. Jesus' own words offer important examples: If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6). Earlier Jesus gives a positive example: And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." (Matthew 10:42)