Helping children good place to start

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

I read a commentary by Bill Glass, founder of Bill Glass Ministries. He told of an incident at a Seattle Special Olympics event some years ago. Bill Glass holds a distinct interest in issues dealing with the handicapped because he has a grandson with Down’s Syndrome.

The games had started and the 100-yard dash was the subject of Glass’s story. Nine contestants, all physically or mentally handicapped, lined up at the starting line to compete in this event. When the gun sounded, all nine runners darted off. Each rushed forth with enthusiasm, all determined to win the race.

Yet something unexpected happened right after the gun was fired. Eight of the contestants were well on their way down the lanes toward a good race when one contestant fell behind. As the eight ran on, the little boy stumbled on the track, fell down and began to cry.

The other eight runners heard his cries and each slowed down to take a look back. But that wasn’t all. In a heartwarming collective gesture, one by one, each contestant turned and went back to the little boy who had fallen.

When they reached him, they were an encouraging band of eight. One little girl, who also had Down’s, bent down and kissed the little guy. Then helping him up, all nine linked arms and walked together as one to the finish line.

The crowd was amazed as they all stood and cheered these “handicapped” children. Their pure motives, sincerity, and mercy toward their fallen companion astounded everyone in attendance. The entire event proved to be a valuable lesson and admirable example for the parents, coaches, and spectators.

There is a lesson in that for we as adults. Scores of wonderful teachers and administrators are preparing to start a new school year. These folks will come in contact with hundreds of children all during the year and hundreds of families that go with those children. As a teacher, I know that it is important to teach children … all teachers know that is our calling and that is a huge responsibility. Yet, teachers cannot do it alone. We must talk on the attitude of the ones that Bill Glass observed in the race. They had pure motives, sincerity, and mercy toward their fallen companions. We must ask: How many children have fallen on the road of life only to be passed over by others who are selfishly intent on pursing their own personal goals?

We as a community must get behind our teachers and help in any way we can. Going forth in God’s name means getting personally involved with a child, lending a helping hand and giving them support all the way to the finish line.

It is easy to drop money in the plate for a child far away in another country and that is admirable. But sometimes the ones that need the most help are right among us — right here in Clovis. They are not necessarily in distant places halfway across the world. More than likely it will be in my own hometown, in my own neighborhood, and maybe in my own home.

Reach out in any way you can. Maybe a neighbor’s child needs school supplies; maybe a family you know struggles to buy clothes or necessities for a child in school; maybe the Lighthouse Mission or Matt 25 could use some donations of backpacks, school shoes, spiral notebooks and crayons.

James, the New Testament writer, was straightforward in his perspective. He boldly wrote: “If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned.” (James