Jefferson Weaver – Every Child is Precious

Jefferson Weaver

I was on an already unpleasant errand when a friend called with the words that would shake the coldest stone statue.

“There’s a little kid been shot,” he said.

It did not matter that I had heard the words before; it’s inevitable in my trade. I actually do share the philosophy of the writer, in that every life lost is a tragedy. Even those who we don’t think deserve to breathe can actually do some good in the world. They just have to decide to do so.

Often they decide otherwise, and their deaths can sadly be viewed as a public service more than a crime.

That’s not the case with little kids.

Every child is precious, and needs to be protected, loved and nurtured, from the moment of conception until they become a grownup, making grownup decisions. The loss of any child, for any reason, means there’s one less chance of someone curing cancer, becoming a teacher who inspires generations, a soldier who defends his friends and his country, an artist or writer who captures beauty, a leader who stands out from the politicians, a cop or firefighter or farmer or even just a plain everyday person who helps a stranger change a flat tire.

 As I write these words, the case in question is an active investigation; I didn’t know the child who died. I didn’t have to. It twisted my heart hearing the emotion in the voices of men and women I know, strong people calloused to man’s inhumanity toward man, people who have been there and seen that too many times to be easily affected.

Every child is precious. Period.

I thought about the children I know and love while I was waiting for telephone calls and emails about the one who was lost. There’s the little dandelion princess I’ve spoke of before, who likes to race me as I drive past her house. I know another little curly headed girl, a blonde who pretends to be frightened but never lets me get out of her sight without a half dozen “bye-byes”.

There’s a little boy in an orphanage in Africa who calls me Father. When a new child comes into the orphanage, he shares everything and makes friends with them. He has to be reminded sometimes to take his share, even when there’s enough for everyone. He’s been known to feed other little kids who couldn’t hold a cup or spoon because they were hurt or sick. He never seems to stop smiling. He’s trying to learn more English so we can talk more. Every new word is a victory for him.

I thought about the little girl I saw at a coon hunting competition last year, being pulled along by a hound bigger than she was, but striving to give the dog the right commands.

I was having what I call a bad leg day the other week, and relying more on my walking stick than I liked as I entered a store. A little fellow in a school uniform shot past me, ignoring his mother’s admonition to slow down and be careful. Although I have goats twice his size, he manfully held the door for me. I thanked him, and he grinned and said “You’re welcome. I like to help.” I had to compliment his mama for the good raisin’ of her boy.

I have said many times we can learn a tremendous amount from little kids, if we’ll stop being stupid grownups. Little kids either work problems out among themselves, isolate the troublemaker til he straightens up, or ask for help. They know frustration, anger and sadness, of course, but they know boundless joy, too, joy in little things like frogs and dandelions and puppies and mud puddles.

Little kids are great judges of character. Given the opportunity, I’ll watch a little kid to see whether someone is a good person or whether a dog might bite, before I make a decision. They just know.

If they’re left alone — again, by us stupid grownups — little kids are the greatest ballplayers ever, since they still have a true love of the game. The son of some friends of mine recently caught his first raccoon, and you’d have thought he had stalked and taken a new Boone and Crockett record deer, if not an elephant.

There is absolutely nothing so beautiful as a child’s faith in Jesus Christ, or that same child’s understanding of Bible stories we take for granted.

I know some children are lost from the start, because of parents or circumstances or the chemicals some folks shove into them to make a child more like a pliable, quiet pet than a tiny human. Those kids can be saved, too, even if the odds are disproportionately stacked against them.

I know there are kids who misbehave. I was one of them, from what I’m told.

I know no child is perfect.

But I also know every single one is precious.

We live in a harsh, often evil world. It’s a lot nastier than the world I grew up in. There are a lot of reasons why, but those reasons don’t matter.

What matters is when an adult, any adult, even a stranger, fails to protect a child, or worse, endangers one through action or inaction.

A little kid died the other night, for no reason except the foolishness of an adult. It wasn’t because of racism, or poverty, or a lack of jobs, or alcohol, or a firearm. It’s because an adult somewhere failed, and that led to a string of events that ended a young child’s life.

Every kid deserves to blow dandelions, splash a puddle, chase a puppy, throw a ball, learn a new song, have a birthday party, ride a bicycle, eat ice cream for the first time, and be safe and warm in the arms of a parent.

Every little kid deserves all that and much more.

A child was killed the other night, shot and killed because of choices made by someone older than he will ever be, someone who knew better. Someone, somewhere could have broken the cycle.

But they didn’t, and a little kid died because of it.

We need to do better.

If not for ourselves, then for the other little kids.

About Jefferson Weaver 2168 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].