Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mother's Day

Post by: Cathy Stafford

This past Sunday, May 13, was Mother’s Day! I want to wish a wonderful day to all women reading this who nurture children. I believe that Mothers, Stepmothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, and Friends all have such an important part to play in raising children in the way God intends. We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to do so.

I want to share a proud Mom moment I had recently. This past Easter Sunday, my 9 year-old son gave the Gospel reading during one of the services at Broomfield UMC. He did a terrific job, as did the other young people who read during the other services. After the reading, my son came and sat down next to me in the front row, one of those reserved for service participants. The rest of our family was sitting in a row further back. Probably getting over some nervousness from reading, he wanted to draw pictures instead of listening intently to Pastor Ken. I drew with him, because I could tell he wanted me to, and I also listened to Pastor Ken. Moms know how to multi-task, am I right?

As you know if you attended Broomfield UMC on Easter Sunday, Pastor Ken told the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, one of the youngest children who marched in the Children’s Crusades of 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the youngest child who was jailed during that event. Pastor Ken also discussed Audrey Faye Hendricks in the BUMC blog dated May 6, 2018. I did not know the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks before the sermon on Easter Sunday. I did not know the story about the Children’s Crusades either.

During this Easter Sunday sermon, a story about a nine year-old child being jailed for seven days is being told. I am sitting next to my nine year-old child. My mindset is pretty much one of shock and disbelief. I am thinking about this child who went to jail, and about my own child sitting next to me who is the same age. One thing that is going through my mind is what her parents must have felt like when their child was in jail and they were not allowed to contact her. I am not catching everything Pastor Ken is talking about due to my flood of emotions. I just can’t believe this child was put in jail. I want to know more about what happened.

Shortly after Easter, I think when everyone else was asleep in my house, I researched the Children’s Crusade and Audrey Faye Hendricks’ story. I found out that her parents were very active in their church and the Civil Rights Movement. Audrey knew about the injustices in her town. She was aware of bombings that occurred in her hometown. She went to planning meetings with her parents for many years. She knew that other young people, mostly teens in her community, were going to march and would likely have to go to jail. She told her parents that she wanted to participate in the march, knowing that she would almost certainly go to jail too.

Audrey’s parents let her participate in the march, and even bought her a game to take with her, in case she had to stay in jail. Some people may agree with their decision, and some people may not. I believe it is not my place to agree or disagree. During my research, I felt empathy and sympathy for Audrey Faye Hendricks’ parents, not judgment. I don’t feel entitled to even start to know their circumstances, or their child, or the other people involved in their lives. I just stand in awe of their bravery in how they supported their child. I feel relieved that their family made it through this ordeal.

I imagine Audrey’s parents could rely on the teens who were part of the march along with their daughter. I hope the teens who also participated were as trustworthy, responsible and kind as those who volunteer and work for Broomfield UMC. I imagine they were. I know I would be saying things to the teens prior to the march like, “Natalie, please check on him every 10 minutes, and ask two of your friends to do so as well in case you are pulled away.” History shows that Audrey Faye Hendricks’ and her family’s sacrifices were not in vain, and were very influential in bringing about change.

Among many other things, Audrey Faye Hendricks’ story reminds me that the greatest gifts we can give to parents are acceptance, support, and as much understanding as possible. Jesus is clear that we are not to judge. Parenting is a hard job. I hope Audrey’s parents had lots of support from family and friends in their community. On this week of Mother’s Day, let’s all find a way to support a Mom (or Stepmother, or Grandmother, or Aunt, or Friend) who is nurturing children.

Cathy Stafford is a church member, friend, daughter, sister, wife, and mother of two elementary-age children. She works as a Program Coordinator with the Family Ministries Team at BUMC, which serves children ages birth to 5th grade and their families.

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