Do We Love Our Children Enough?

There is a story about a man who became irate when his neighbors' children made footprints in his freshly laid concrete drive. His wife urged, "Dear, you mustn't be angry with the children. You must love them." Whereupon the husband snarled, "I love children in the abstract but not in the concrete!"

Whether the story is true or not, it may describe the way many people feel about children. At a time when so much is being said about the problems of young people, many of us get on the bandwagon of concern for the young. We speak with horror about youngsters' problems. But our concern is sometimes so superficial that it shows only an abstract affection for children. There are others who really care. Their love is deep and constant and concrete.

We are not likely to do anything meaningful for children unless our affection for them includes genuine interest in their development. If we love young people, both collectively and individually, we will help them learn to discipline themselves. We will make a real effort to pray for the children of the world every day, beginning at home with the children in our care. We will do this work not just in a general way but with specific attention to their needs.

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Don't Start with Calculus
July 17, 1971

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