Marian Wright EdelmanOp-EdOpinion

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: A Child Advocate’s Beatitudes

Below is a prayer for child advocates. Teachers and school administrators are always on the front lines advocating for children so maybe one of them could use this today as s/he is preparing for the new school year. They are not alone. Parents and grandparents and all who care for children and strive to be good role models for them are child advocates. Doctors, social workers and others who work with and serve children are child advocates. Librarians and coaches are child advocates. Political leaders who put children first are child advocates. And all are joined by the millions of people, with or without children of their own, who spend time and talent fighting for just policies and practices that help children and families and all who are vulnerable and needy:

A Child Advocate’s Beatitudes
(Inspired by Clarence Jordan’s Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are the poor in spirit — who do not measure themselves by money or worldly power but who ask God for what they need and are not mired in pride — for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are those who mourn — who are concerned about the needs of children and the poor and others in need who cannot speak for themselves — for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek — who do not seek only their own good but their neighbors’ too — for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness — who do not work for the praise of others or earthly gain or fame and share gladly their talents, energy and money — for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful — who know they are sinners and are dependent on God’s and others’ forgiveness every minute of every day — for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart — who are not hypocrites but who struggle to live what they preach — for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers — who do not prepare for war while talking about peace, who do not kill others in order to stop killing, who do not love just those who love them but reach out to make their enemies friends — for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake — who do not run or waver in the face of criticism, threats, or death — for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who speak kindly and not meanly of others — who do not tear down others but build them up for the kingdom’s work and children’s well-being — for they shall receive their reward.

Blessed are the just — who do not adhere to the letter of the law and regulations for some but ignore them for others — for they will hear God’s well done.

Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund.

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