Monday, October 11, 1999

Concern for kids unites faiths

Sabbath stresses children as future, need to nurture

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — Andra Warnesord, a Catholic, held up a crayon, piece of chalk, pencil, Band-Aid, penny and pen as she prayed Sunday for the parents, teachers, medical-care providers and government leaders that can make today's children whole.

        Afterward, Catholics, Jews and those from other faiths responded with a resounding, “Hear Our Prayer.”

        About 50 people attended the multidenominational Children's Sabbath, celebrated at Northern Kentucky University. The hourlong ceremony included prayer, storytelling and song, and was an opportunity for all faiths to come together and remember a theme that runs though all faiths: to nurture and protect children.

        Sunday's Sabbath was part of a monthlong event — National Observance of Children's Sabbath — that the Children's Defense Fund sponsors with more than 200 denominations and religious organizations nationwide.

        “Wonderfully Made: Preparing Children to Learn and Succeed” is this year's theme.

        Campbell County High School Principal Steve Sorrell was the keynote speaker. He urged the crowd to raise “happy, healthy and safe” children and told them to lead by example.

        “They listen and learn from us,” he said. “You set the example. Show them. They learn more in (the first) six years than any time else.”

        He offered eight basic needs that parents must meet for their children to do well in school and life. They were for children to feel special, respect themselves, respect oth ers, do their best, give without any expectations and learn that it's OK to be smart and OK to tell an adult about someone else's wrongdoing. The need for parents to love their children unconditionally was No. 1.

        Mr. Sorrell recounted that, six years ago, his newborn daughter was like other newborns — not always pleasant.

        “She cried. She had dirty diapers,” he said, before sharing his joy over the child's first smile. “That smile meant more to me than anything.”

        Representatives from Norwood Church of Christ, St. Benedict's Church in Covington and Temple Shalom in Cincinnati also participated in Children's Sabbath.

        Fairhaven Rescue Mission's “Just for Kids” Choir wrapped up the ceremony with “The Cup Thing,” a performance that entailed the use of plastic cups, a table and their young hands beating the rhythms of a tape-recorded song.

        Choir Director Peggy Rucker said the children, from kindergarten to sixth grade, participate in the rescue mission's after-school program, which also provides tutoring, Bible studies and recreational games and crafts.

        “They need encouragement,” she said. “They need to be told that they can be come more than what they think.”

        The Family Nurturing Center sponsored Sunday's Sabbath at NKU. The Florence-based, nonprofit agency focuses on education, prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse. It serves 16,000 children and families each year.


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