Eric Dishongh, PhD
Connecting others to Jesus and His church as a husband, dad, minister, counselor, professor and friend
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Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
As our nation celebrates the legacy of Dr. King, I've been thinking quite a bit about social justice, particularly in relation to children. Broadly defined, social justice is the idea of creating a society that is based upon the principle of equality, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being.
In an ideal world, parents would be the primary mechanism in which children understand their value and dignity.
Yesterday, I learned something new that my parents did for me right before my freshman year at Destrehan High School. Evidently, my score on a standardized test was preventing me from being enrolled in Honors English. Knowing that my poor performance on a one hour test should not be the sole indicator of my academic opportunities, my parents (particularly my dad's smooth talking as PTA President) successfully pleaded with the administrators to allow me to be enrolled in Honors English. This is just one small example of my parents' willingness and determination to provide the very best for me. Mitzi and I are trying our very best to do the same for Brayden and Breanna.
Unfortunately, though, many children are not as blessed as I am with parents who would do anything for them.
One of my heroes, Jeff Jenkins, recently explained that the home should be the primary refuge of protection for children; however, in many instances, the home becomes the eye of the storm. Some children are caught in the middle of divorcing parents who hate each other. Some children experience abuse and malnourishment. Some children are never taken to the doctor. Some children have parents that could care less about their academic performance. Some children go to church with either one or both parents sitting at home.
These harsh realities in the lives of real children have resulted in me appreciating various efforts more so than ever. I am thankful for my friend, John Dias, and his staff at the United Way of St. Charles who provide children on Friday afternoons backpacks filled with food so that they won't go hungry over the weekend. I am thankful for a lifelong family friend, Charmaine Allesandro, and her staff at the Greater New Orleans Immunization Network who provide shots to children who otherwise would not receive them. I am thankful for my friend, Lauren Lemmon, and other judges who mandate co-parenting after a divorce having the child's best interest in mind. I am thankful for churches that employ youth ministers who focus primarily on the development of faith in the lives of children.
In my opinion, social justice occurs when we unconditionally love all of God's children- red and yellow, black and white- especially when their parents do not.
What do you think?