Friday, October 22, 2010


This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the post
(aside from the fact that this is one of the babies that I pray for every day).
Son#2 at homecoming last week.

I've been a teacher in urban schools for about 25 years. I've heard lots of hard stories. This year, though, has been exceptionally difficult. Story after story after story after story. Every. single. day. The kind that take your breath away- kids being hospitalized in psych wards, drive by shootings, pregnant teenagers, incarcerated parents, kids moving from foster home to foster home to foster home- with no sense of belonging or being loved, family members dying. Kids coming to school every day and needing to be rocked and loved and put back together before they can even begin to think about learning. This morning, when I was thinking about Poetry Friday, I remembered this poem/prayer by one of my heroes, Marion Wright Edelman. And it kinda seemed to fit.

A Prayer for Children


We pray for children
Who sneak popsicles before supper,
Who erase holes in math workbooks,
Who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
Who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
Who never "counted potatoes,"
Who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
Who never go to the circus,
Who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
Who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
Who never get dessert,
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
Who watch their parents watch them die,
Who can't find any bread to steal,
Who don't have any rooms to clean up,
Whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
Whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
Who like ghost stories,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
Who get visits from the tooth fairy,
Who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
Who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything,
Who have never seen a dentist,
Who aren't spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must,
For those we never give up on and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother ... and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

We pray for children.



Amy L V said...

Thank you, Carol, for these kind and honest words, a reminder of the gifts in my own life and how much giving back and prayers are needed. A.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Wonderful poem prayer! Your son is so handsome and proud and happy. Thanks be to God!

Author Amok said...

Carol, I love how all-encompassing this prayer is. Wonderful poem -- especially for teachers.

Rhonda said...

Wow! This poem is such a great reminder of the hurt so many people face. Thank you for sharing it. I hope you don't mind but I posted it on my blog for my friends to see. If you have a problem with that I will delete it.

Carol said...

I'm never opposed to anyone advocating for children! Please post this poem/prayer anywhere you want (Usually I only post a stanza from poems but when I googled it, this one was posted in many places on the web so I thought it would be ok).

Mary Lee said...

Yes. We pray for them ALL.