Matthew 19:14 (AMP) “But (Jesus) said, “Leave the children alone, and do not forbid them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Jesus was in town. The parents in the text wanted to make sure that their children were touched or prayed for by Jesus. The disciples meant well as they tried to triage who got to Jesus in order to preserve His strength, monitor His time, etc.
I am paraphrasing but in essence, Jesus said “My ministry and schedule is not being delayed by spending time with these children; rather, ministering to these children is part and parcel of my ministry.”
In taking time to bless the children, Jesus emphasized in both word and deed the importance of all children and their well-being.
While everyone may not recognize the significance of introducing their children to Jesus Christ, most would agree, like Jesus, that all children are important and valuable to our community. Unfortunately, all children do not grow up in environments where they have support, love and are nurtured to fulfill their potential.
A big obstacle standing in the way is something called ACEs. ACEs stands for “Adverse Childhood Experiences.” These experiences include children who have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, observed a parent treated violently, parental divorce, etc.
Children with these issues have a greater risk for being expelled, failing in their work, dropping out of school, being expelled, etc.
Can you imagine trying to deal with solving math equations on an empty stomach? What about trying to pen a short essay while a domestic violence encounter is happening between your mother and father in the adjoining room? What about having to stop by jail and visit your dad before you even get started on your homework?
These are the realities for a number of our children right here in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. ACEs Counselors with Murfreesboro City Schools work tirelessly to counsel, encourage, inspire and uplift children who grapple with these circumstances — and worse — every day.
As Believers, it is important to pray for all our children in our city and county school systems. It is also important that we equip ourselves with knowledge about these programs in order to advocate with school officials and elected officials to better support them.
If you would like to receive more information about the Murfreesboro City Schools ACEs Program, you can contact Kim Frank, Director of Counseling with Murfreesboro City Schools at (615) 893-2313. She can direct you to the appropriate person to schedule a presentation by the ACEs Counselors for your church, civic group or agency.
Andrae P. Crismon, Sr. is the pastor of Higher Ground Worship Center, Church of God in Christ, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the author of “Lord, Keep My Mind Clean: A 31 Day Devotional & Accountability Journal.”