A Child’s place in the Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God is one that is visible in the words and works of those that follow Jesus, even if the best that we can do is follow at a distance. In this, the advancement of the due rights of children is the first and foremost duty of every community. The strongest protections of law and tradition should be reserved for the weakest members of any given society. There is no more attractive target for abuse and neglect than children because they have the smallest voice and the least ability answer their harm. Therefore it is contingent upon all persons of goodwill everywhere to provide that voice and to act toward their safety, protection, education, nourishment, nurture, and grace. Laws need to be changed, but more needful is the change in attitudes and awareness that can sometimes be achieved only through an intergenerational commitment. If we change the rules (because that too must be done) we can change the immediate effects and the institutional character of the violations of the rights of women and children, but without a transformation that is holistically interpreted and developmentally balanced, such gains might be short lived or even largely ignored. Permanent change is impossible. The kinds of changes that come about through transformational development as a fully integrated view of human flourishing is one that will be hard fought to achieve in the short term, and require ongoing nurture and care to prolong its life. It can be sustained, but not guaranteed. These are the kinds of changes that must be renewed in every generation or they will be lost as soon as social conditions out pace their popularity and convenience. This is why the protection and care of children and the support of their maternal and familial environment is the most needful thing; we can change the future only if we change it now.