WHILE cleaning her daughter's room recently, a friend was stunned to discover that the eleven-year-old had scrawled the word life on paper and crossed it out with a huge ``X.'' There were satanic symbols, too, and a makeshift will. Another friend was approached on the street by a young boy selling drugs. He couldn't believe his eyes; the boy was about the same age as his nine-year-old son.
For all its rewards, being a parent these days has got to be one of the toughest jobs going. But then, these are not easy times to be a child, either. Innocence and purity, spirituality and meekness, are not especially valued in a materialistic age. In fact, materialism would seek to crush out these things altogether -- in all of us. It could make a child feel his life just isn't worth much. It might induce self-hatred, anger, and confusion about right and wrong.
I've known children and teen-agers who have struggled with these feelings. But I've also seen that Christly love and prayer can neutralize negative mental influences and free children to be themselves again -- to think rightly and choose good. Every time this has happened, I've had the feeling that deep down, silently, the youngster was saying all along, ``I was hoping you wouldn't give up on me. I was really hoping someone would help.''
Christ Jesus said, ``It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.''1 The Master's way -- the example of the man who overcame the worldand its hatred of spirituality -- is the Christian's model. So we look to what he said, how he healed, and how he prayed, and there we learn what's most needed in our efforts to help children. It's to think of them and love them from a spiritual standpoint, as Jesus would have. It's to have the Mind of Christ.