“Flavaine Carvalho, sensing distress from an 11-year-old boy with his family, secretly flashed the boy a note asking him if he needed help. When the boy said yes, Carvalho called 911. The boy’s stepfather faces three charges of aggravated child abuse, and his mother faces two charges of child neglect.”
Category : Children
The Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Children and Families is supporting moves in the House of Lords today to introduce legal protections for children from being used in undercover operations by police and other authorities.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, is backing cross-party amendments to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill which is currently before the Lords for report stage.
The story behind the Longfellow poem that became a Hymn–I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, A Carol for the Despairing
Like we do every year, my parents took my brother and me to see “A Christmas Carol” on stage to get everyone into the Christmas spirit (which is no small feat at the end of November). The story is familiar and heartwarming, but the song they ended their production with struck me: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Set to music a few decades later, this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was written over Christmas of either 1863 or 1864, in the middle of the bloodiest war in American history.
The carol is not cotton candy; it is a beating heart, laid bare in seven stanzas with simple language. At the second-to-last verse, I noticed dimly that I had begun to cry; by the end of the song, my face was wet with tears.
“And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’”
It isn’t quite right to call this a cynic’s carol, but in this verse it is a desperate and bitter one. It’s a carol from a man who has had the nature of the world uncovered before him. It’s one of the only carols that still rings true to me in 2018.
Like all good poets, with “Christmas Bells” Longfellow reached out across almost 155 years of history to take my hand.
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.’”
A Carol for the Despairing | Christianity Today https://t.co/coElaMNr26
— Robert Hendrickson (@FrRHendrickson) December 16, 2020
Lord Jesus, I thank You for the gift of this new day. When You came to earth for us, You grew as a child in wisdom and grace. As Lord, You received children in Your arms. You blessed them and said that Your kingdom belongs to them. Dear Jesus, receive me also on this day and hear my morning prayer. Bless my parents, teachers, and all those who love and care for me.
Bless me, also, and protect me from danger and evil. Give me strength to be truthful, honest, kind, and helpful to others. Guide me to grow as a member of Your kingdom. You are my Lord and King, and to You I give praise and thanks forever.
In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We’re to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” as the First Reading puts it. pic.twitter.com/Kr12Ib2qqK
— Catholic Church (@catholicEW) December 27, 2020
A sermon of St Quodvultdeus on the Holy Innocents–Even Before They Learn to Speak, They Proclaim Christ
A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.
Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.
You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children.
The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation.
But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.
How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.
Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Matt. 2:16:"When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under …" Herod & his men from13th c. LPL MS 558. pic.twitter.com/Y7qShaHCEW
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) December 28, 2020
I wonder if the popularity of the Coventry Carol today indicates that it expresses something people don’t find in the usual run of joyful Christmas carols – this song of grief, of innocence cruelly destroyed. The Feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermas, as it was known in the Middle Ages) is not an easy subject for a modern audience to understand, and the images which often accompany it in medieval manuscripts, of children impaled on spears, are truly horrible. But they are meant to be; they are intended to disgust and horrify, and they’re horrible because they’re not fantasy violence but all too close to the reality of the world we live in. Children do die; the innocent and vulnerable do suffer at the hands of the powerful; and as this carol says, every single form of human love, one way or another, will ultimately end in parting and grief. Every child born into the world – every tiny, innocent, adorable little baby – however loved, however cared for, will grow up to face some kind of sorrow, and the inevitability of death. Of course no one wants to think about such things, especially when they look at a newborn baby; but pretending otherwise, not wanting to think otherwise, doesn’t make it any less true.
Medieval writers were honest and clear-eyed about such uncomfortable truths. The idea that thoughts like these are incongruous with the Christmas season (as you often hear people say about the Holy Innocents) is largely a modern scruple, encouraged by the comparatively recent idea that Christmas is primarily a cheery festival for happy children and families.
Today is Childermas Day, the feast of the Holy Innocents, on the fourth day of Christmas. It's an appropriate day for the Coventry Carol and other medieval lullaby-laments: https://t.co/KYr5ltY2ou pic.twitter.com/yYROD0Fbrw
— Eleanor Parker (@ClerkofOxford) December 28, 2020
We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
December 28th is Childermas, or the Feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating the infant boys of Bethlehem massacred by King Herod—protomartyrs for Christ. pic.twitter.com/NF2lV6ffmf
— Tradical (@NoTrueScotist) December 28, 2020
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ….” Titus 2:11-13
Joshua Christopher Davidson first saw the light of day in December 1922, the third child of Jack and Helen Davidson. He was born at his parents’ home on Evans Avenue, and so close to midnight that no one could ever say if he was born on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He was baptized on the sixth day of January 1922 at St. Stephen’s Church on 8th Avenue near Walnut Street in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He spent his first Christmas Eve 1923 at home with his mother and siblings, while his father, Jack, and his paternal grandparents attended the Midnight Communion service at St. Stephen’s.
1933 Josh was 11 years old. The Depression Years. In the spring of the year, FDR began his famous Fireside Chats. And although the average worker was making 60% less than the pre 1929 wages, the hope of the New Deal had somehow lifted peoples’ spirits in the Monongahela Valley. Young Josh sang that Christmas Eve in the Boys Choir. It was his first Christmas Eve at the Midnight Service—and if you had asked him years later, he would have told you it was the best Christmas of his childhood. When he opened his present on Christmas morning, he grinned from ear to ear. It was the pocketknife he had been admiring all fall every time he went into the five & dime. He spent the lion’s share of the day whittling a piece of wood into a miniature manger for the baby Jesus.
Merry Christmas Eve to everyone celebrating. Hope yinz were good n'at, or else Santa may not come dahn the chimney. This is another view from the winter solstice, which featured an incredible sunrise from the incline, with #Pittsburgh and the tree glowing under colorful skies. pic.twitter.com/jfpj7TVb5O
— Dave DiCello (@DaveDiCello) December 24, 2020
(Local Paper front page) More than 6,000 Fort Jackson soldiers are heading home for Christmas during the pandemic
Hundreds of green duffle bags were stacked in piles, like bags of mulch, at the ticket counters.
A sea of young trainees in camouflage masks and Army uniforms marched through the Columbia Metropolitan Airport ushered by drill sergeants through security. Some eager soldiers grabbed hot coffee and sugar cookies handed out by volunteers. A few of the privates moseyed to their terminal gate early, taking time to charge their cellphones or text loved ones.
It’s a stressful process filtering 6,000 soldiers and trainees out of Fort Jackson to points across the country during a pandemic. But it’s all for a good reason.
These service members were heading home for the holidays.
It’s a stressful process filtering 6,000 soldiers and trainees out of Fort Jackson to points across the country during a pandemic. But it’s for a good reason.
They're heading home for the holidays.https://t.co/29ad5Gq45Q
— The Post and Courier (@postandcourier) December 24, 2020
AWKA, Nigeria — In the small family portrait gallery hanging above the television in the cozy home of the Iloanya family, only two framed photographs remain that include the youngest son, Chijioke.
He disappeared eight years ago. His parents, Hope and Emmanuel, last saw him in handcuffs in a police station run by the feared unit known as SARS — the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
They have been searching for him ever since, along the way encountering an industry of merchants peddling hope: lawyers, human rights groups and the churches and pastors who asked for the photographs of Chijioke, promising to pray over them and help bring him back.
“They give you a prophecy that he will come back,” said Hope, a devout woman of 53, staring at the gaps on her salmon-pink wall. “Whatever they tell you to do, you do it.”
When a family’s child is taken by police, strangers show up on their doorstep. Promising help and wanting money.https://t.co/6UHgf8xVTX
— Ruth Maclean (@ruthmaclean) December 23, 2020
One is thriving after switching from online public school to in-person private education. The other is struggling, stuck in her virtual classroom.
The lives of these two girls, Ella Pierick and Afiya Harris, encapsulate the growing divide in U.S. education as more affluent parents flee public schools.
In Connecticut, enrollment fell 3%. Colorado reported a similar decline, with the steepest losses in one of its wealthiest counties. Chicago’s rosters dipped 4.1%, the most in 20 years.
Parents with means are instead homeschooling; joining with other families to hire teachers in so-called pandemic pods; or signing up for private schools. Poor and minority children often have no choice but to attend inferior virtual classrooms, and some are just giving up entirely.
— David Wainer (@david_wainer) December 21, 2020
“Anthony Swann knows that educators have a big impact on their students. A teacher from his youth inspired him to choose education as his career, and now Swann strives to affirm his students every day.”
Enjoy the whole thing.
(C of E) Rural Teaching Partnership launched to build a fair education for pupils in rural communities
The Church of England, education charity Teach First and the Chartered College of Teaching are today launching the new Rural Teaching Partnership. The partnership will run in ten pilot regions across England and will see trainee teachers, trained by Teach First, start two-year placements with Church of England primary schools in September 2021.
By coming together, these three organisations hope to tackle teacher recruitment challenges currently faced by schools in poorer rural areas, with evidence showing that rural school leaders face greater difficulties with staff recruitment and retention compared to urban schools.
With more than half of its 4,644 schools situated in rural areas, the Church of England is the majority provider of rural schools nationally. Within ten pilot regions, schools serving areas of rural deprivation will be selected for placements either in Church of England schools, or non-Church of England schools which are part of a Church of England federation or multi academy trust.
All trainee teachers in the partnership will be enrolled on Teach First’s Training Programme, which has recruited, trained and placed over 15,000 trainee teachers in schools serving disadvantaged communities to date. They will receive ongoing support and training from Teach First throughout the two years and will also benefit from bespoke training for rural school settings, such as teaching multiple year groups.
This looks like a good initiative. https://t.co/jp63HwqqCN
— Gill Kimber (@WardenGill) December 11, 2020
One of the most important stories in the last month in case you missed it–A BBC expose about a baby stealing operation (yes, really) in Kenya
Somewhere, Rebecca’s son is 10. He could be in Nairobi, where she lives, or he could be somewhere else. He could, she knows in her heart, be dead. The last time she saw him, Lawrence Josiah, her firstborn son, he was one. She was 16. It was about 2am one night in March 2011 and Rebecca was drowsy from sniffing a handkerchief doused in jet fuel — a cheap high on the city’s streets.
She sniffed jet fuel because it gave her the confidence to go up to strangers and beg. By the time she was 15, Rebecca’s mother could no longer support her or pay her school fees, and she dropped out and slid into life on the street. She met an older man who promised to marry her but instead made her pregnant and left. The following year Lawrence Josiah was born, and Rebecca raised him for a year and a few months until she closed her eyes that night and never saw him again.
“Even though I have other kids, he was my firstborn, he made me a mother,” she said, fighting back tears. “I have searched in every children’s centre, in Kiambu, Kayole, and I have never found him.”
Kenya's state officials held an emergency meeting into the matter on Monday and by Tuesday, the government ordered an investigation into the theft and sale of babies. https://t.co/MCkjfKtg1E
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) November 19, 2020
The latest coronavirus problem in sports isn’t that far from the problem that a lot of Americans have: How can you tell if that’s a cold, or Covid? Is that sniffle allergies, or a sign of a deadly pathogen? Is that headache just a headache, or…?
One of the things that makes coronavirus a wily foe for epidemiologists is that it has a really long list of possible symptoms—including none at all.
The catalog offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on reports from people who have had Covid-19, includes fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
That’s particularly vexing if you’re an athlete or sports league determined to try to play through a pandemic. The National Football League, which has experienced a significant increase in cases in recent weeks as cases rise across the country, knows this all too well. After bursts of positive cases earlier in the season, the league overhauled its pandemic protocols to remove anyone who’s showing possible symptoms of Covid-19—even if they’re testing negative.
“It’s a challenging medical situation,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “We always assume something is Covid until proven otherwise.”
Your nose is runny, you're tired, your head hurts.
It's a problem facing both NFL teams and everyday Americans deciding if they should go to work or send a child to school. Is it a cold? Flu? Allergies? Or Covid? With @louiseradnofsky: https://t.co/CSGc8TCpIc
— Andrew Beaton (@andrewlbeaton) November 20, 2020
So, here’s a new theory: The explosive events of 2020 are but the latest eruption along a fault line running through our already unstable lives. That eruption exposes the threefold crisis of filial attachment that has beset the Western world for more than half a century. Deprived of father, Father, and patria, a critical mass of humanity has become socially dysfunctional on a scale not seen before.
This is especially true of the young. The frantic flight to collective political identities has primordial, not transient, origins. The riots are, at least in part, a visible consequence of the largely invisible crisis of Western paternity. We know this to be true, in more ways than one.
First, a syllogism: The riots amount to social dysfunction on parade. Six decades of social science have established that the most efficient way to increase dysfunction is to increase fatherlessness. And this the United States has done, for two generations now. Almost one in four children today grows up without a father in the home. For African Americans, it is some 65 percent of children.
Some people, mainly on the left, think there’s nothing to see here. They’re wrong. The vast majority of incarcerated juveniles have grown up in fatherless homes. Teen and other mass murderers almost invariably have filial rupture in their biographies. Absent fathers predict higher rates of truancy, psychiatric problems, criminality, promiscuity, drug use, rape, domestic violence, and other less-than-optimal outcomes.
Simone Weil wrote somewhere that for human beings having no roots is so painful that the uprooted feel the need to uproot the rooted.
— Carlo Lancellotti (@_CLancellotti) November 14, 2020
Make sure to listen all the way to the end, where Steve talks about his experience of having Covid19 and recovering from it and what it taught him theologically.
As churches rose to the challenge of moving services online amid Covid-19 restrictions this year, one curate has gone step further in efforts to engage with young members of her congregation – by taking worship inside a video game.
The Revd Jo Burden, who recently joined West Hereford Team Ministry, in the Diocese of Hereford, came up with the idea of reaching out to children on a platform they were familiar with – Minecraft.
A @WestHereford church has brought worship to where children are – inside a video game.
— The Church of England (@churchofengland) November 12, 2020
“Dallas elementary school teacher Eric Hale made history this year as the first Black man to win the Texas Teacher of the Year award. His engaging lessons both before and during the pandemic have inspired students and colleagues alike.”
(NBC) Wonderfully encouraging story from California–Family’s mission to provide desks for kids in need
“Mitch Couch initially built just one desk for his daughter. After posting a YouTube tutorial, parents needing desks started reaching out, and other volunteers across the country joined in to help build desks for kids in need.”
Watch the whole thing.
Tuesday Mental Health Break–Liverpool Coach Jurgen Klopp Writes an 11 yr old a letter which you need to see
Jürgen Klopp's personal letter to an 11 year old child who wrote to him about his stress and anxiety over starting secondary school this September gone.
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) October 11, 2020
(Local Paper Front Page) New infant mortality rate in South Carolina shows widening gap between Black and White baby deaths
Fewer infants died in South Carolina last year, pushing the state’s infant mortality rate slightly closer to the national average.
But data published by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control shows that all improvement was observed exclusively among White babies, further widening the large racial gap that exists between White and Black infant deaths.
In 2019, Black infants born in South Carolina were nearly three times as likely as White babies to die before their first birthday.
DHEC spokeswoman Laura Renwick said agency experts haven’t finished analyzing the 2019 infant mortality data. The department’s official report is expected to be ready sometime later this month, she said.
— The Post and Courier (@postandcourier) October 11, 2020
Youli Lee is proud of the years she worked for the U.S. government, prosecuting cybercrime in some of the world’s darkest places. These days, she’s the one hiding out — mostly from her three children, ages 8, 11, and 13.
“I just actually locked my door so that nobody could come here,” she says, from her bedroom.
The constant interruptions from children are happening in households across the country. Nearly half of all school districts in the U.S. started the school year with remote learning, including Lee’s district in Fairfax County, Va. With the added complexities of managing multiple Zoom calls at work and online learning for the kids, parents – especially moms — are hitting a breaking point.
For Lee, the juggling act fell apart in the spring. Her husband, a doctor, was at the hospital seven days a week while she worked from home, struggling to maintain her own grueling schedule of nonstop work calls. That went on for weeks until she realized that her younger two children were routinely skipping lunch. Without the structure of the school day, the kids never quite knew when it was time to eat.
So, when news came that the kids’ schools would only partially reopen at best, she realized that was it. “I can’t keep this up,” she remembers thinking. “This is too much.”
— Andrea Hsu (@andrea_c_hsu) September 29, 2020
‘At just two years old, Bentley Boyers has undergone two surgeries after being born with a cleft lip. His family recently adopted a puppy with a cleft lip, and they’ve formed a special connection.’
Watch it all.
Why the coronavirus affects children much less severely than adults has become an enduring mystery of the pandemic. The vast majority of children do not get sick; when they do, they usually recover.
The first study to compare the immune response in children with that in adults suggests a reason for children’s relative good fortune. In children, a branch of the immune system that evolved to protect against unfamiliar pathogens rapidly destroys the coronavirus before it wreaks damage on their bodies, according to the research, published this week in Science Translational Medicine.
“The bottom line is, yes, children do respond differently immunologically to this virus, and it seems to be protecting the kids,” said Dr. Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who led the study.
In adults, the immune response is much more muted, she and her colleagues found.
How do children fight off the coronavirus? The secret may lie in an “innate” immune response that targets unrecognized invaders, scientists say.https://t.co/nJyNlXt6kr
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 26, 2020
The Narnia stories endure primarily because they are delightful stories, but in hindsight I see that part of the delight—part of what made the characters so engaging and the adventures so riveting—flows from Lewis’ understanding of human character. The adventures rivet because they are so consequential for the adventurers: not only their physical lives but their moral character and indeed their eternal destinies hang in the balance. The characters engage most profoundly not when good characters battle evil ones, but when good and evil war within the persons themselves.
In Narnia we find embodied the baffling mystery of the human condition—the gospel truth of our genuine freedom and desperate need. In Narnia we learn that we cannot save ourselves, but we can accept a savior. Above all, in Lewis’s stories we find an image of a king—not safe but good, not tame but beautiful. As our children come to love Aslan, may they thereby learn better to love the true King.
— Midwest Augustinians (@mwaugustinians) September 23, 2020
All four people have been isolated and are being cared for. They are being contact-traced. The school is on point, and I appreciate the transparency. That said, the miasma of anxiety the news summons is overwhelming.
But it’s also a good reminder to finish up our extraction plan. Both schools have told us that we need one in the event a COVID-19 surge on campus requires us to evacuate our daughters.
I don’t know how that will work. Honestly, I’m not sure how any of this will work.
As a mother of a rising freshman in college, I can tearfully relate to every bit of this… 2020 is like no other. Let’s hope for silver linings! “Class Of COVID-19: The Horrifying Sadness Of Sending My Kids To College During A Pandemic” https://t.co/fbph7nHsRa
— Ali Wing (@aliwing) September 16, 2020
(PRC) A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression
The coronavirus outbreak has pushed millions of Americans, especially young adults, to move in with family members. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era.
In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) September 4, 2020
Parents across America are facing the pandemic school year feeling overwhelmed, anxious and abandoned. With few good options for support, the vast majority have resigned themselves to going it alone, a new survey for The New York Times has found.
Just one in seven parents said their children would be returning to school full time this fall, and for most children, remote school requires hands-on help from an adult at home. Yet four in five parents said they would have no in-person help educating and caring for them, whether from relatives, neighbors, nannies or tutors, according to the survey, administered by Morning Consult. And more than half of parents will be taking on this second, unpaid job at the same time they’re holding down paid work.
Raising children has always been a community endeavor, and suddenly the village that parents relied on is gone. It’s taking a toll on parents’ careers, families’ well-being and children’s education.
In families where both wage earners need to work outside the home, parents have obvious logistical challenges because they cannot be in two places at once. Three-fourths of these parents say they will be overseeing their children’s education, and nearly half will be handling primary child care, according to the survey, answered by a nationally representative group of 1,081 parents from Aug. 4 to 8.
Put together, these are some wild stats in @clairecm‘s new piece:
—Only 1 in 7 parents have kids in full time school this year
—Only 1 in 5 will have in-person help from relatives, nannies, or tutorshttps://t.co/AChrKBnbkO
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) August 19, 2020