By David Reynolds
“For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; … Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah 8:21, 22.
I remember my mother testifying in church, and exhorting the parents by asking this question: “Are all the children in?” She then would tell a story from our family’s past. Here is my mother’s story as she wrote it down for me.
You asked me to write you about a true story of your great Grandmother and Grandfather Schemahorne:
Grandpa and Grandma were Germans. They lived on a large farm with a large white house in Robin, Ontario. Grandpa and Grandma Schemahorne had 16 children. Grandma washed the wool, carded it, and spun the yarn to knit all of the socks, mittens, tocks, scarves and sweaters. Grandma said that it would be coming daylight when she would finish a pair of mittens for one of the children. She also wove the cloth and sewed by hand the clothing they all wore, beside all of the cooking and washing for this large family.
One day, Grandpa and the boys were out in the field cutting and stoking the grain by hand. Some of the children were playing around the field. One of the little fellows got tired and laid down and went to sleep.
There seemed so many kids that it was easy to miss one of the little ones.
They all went to bed early and it was so quiet – no phone, no cars. And so it was in the middle of the night, a plaintive cry was heard. “Daddy, Daddy.”
Grandpa called out to his wife, “Sarah, Are all the children in?”
After counting them all – one was missing. And again was heard the little cry, “Daddy, Daddy!”
Grandpa put on his clothes, lite the lantern and went out in the field looking for his boy. There he found little Leonard out in the dark field beside a stoke of grain.
When Grandpa got back to the house he said, “Sarah, every night after this we will make sure that all the children are in.”
…And they did.
‘Sarah, are all the children in?’
My memory is still fresh, as though it were yesterday, of the years I spent as an Elementary Principal. I would walk to the front door of the school at 8:40 each morning, beginning what is for me the ritual of letting the children, who arrived early to school, into the foyer… I stand with these kids for a few minutes, quieting them down and talking to them about their problems and happy times. I then let them go down the hall just in front of the next group of children arriving from the buses.
I greet each group with a smile and, “You have a good day now’. Even though I have trouble with all of their names, I want each child to know that I notice them and I think they are special. I greet the Dad with the little first grade girl who limps and the mothers who do not trust society enough to allow their children to walk to school each morning.
In return, I get hugs from a small number of primary girls who have a real need to hug and to be hugged by someone who cares.
One day one little girl asked me, “Do you want to see what’s in my lunch today?” So she opened her pail and we examine all of the “goodies” that is in the pail, even the sandwich with the bite already out of it.
One day, awhile back a little girl pulled down my head and whispered to me. “My mother just had a baby last night! – It’s a boy!” As I showed my delight at this great news she then said, “And you know what else? She’s going to get married!”
Often I was asked by parents if they could speak to me in private. We would slip into my office to listen to the latest crises to impact ‘my children’. I have heard it all many times before, only the names change. Broken homes and broken lives, all caused by sin and sinful ways of living!
I cry inwardly, as I see a mother weep and express frustration with a world and a system that is cruel, and is hurting them and their children. I am disgusted with the fathers who walk away from their children and beat their wives. I ask some for copies of the restraining orders for our records. I cry as I listen to the father who just has visiting rights and must return the children to a mother who is on drugs and is leaving them alone for hours with dirty diapers and no food.
My heart goes out to the naughty boys, as I handle the discipline problems sent to me from a caring faculty; cases that are major, and cannot be handled while teaching twenty-eight other children. Each one a tragedy that could have been prevented by a loving and caring home; a home where God is honored and his principles followed.
I cry for homes that are falling apart; falling apart because of selfishness and sin.
I feel so helpless within the public school setting because I have the solution; but instead I am expected to use the accepted social band-aids. Caring and counseling soothes the hurt for the moment but does not change the person or the home situation.
Henry David Thoreau said, “For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil… There is only one striking at the root.”
I feel so strongly that the problem is a spiritual problem and only God has the solution. I know the healer of broken hearts and broken homes. I know the Jesus who quoted in Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto he meek: He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
Never has there been a time when there has been so many pressures on the home. Never has there been a time when there are so many forces of evil to destroy our children. Never has there been a time when so many are lost to us. Yet the Bible assures us that: “Children are a legacy from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3.
These are God’s children, God’s gift. Like Samuel’s mother, we must recognize that they are put into our charge for a short time and then we must give them back. If they belong to God; then we can be confident that He will give us the wisdom and grace to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Remember: you only have your children for a short time
“And as thy servant was busy here and there he was gone.” I Kings 20:40
Sarah… Are all the children in?