My great-grandmother and the immeasurable worth of each child

The Standard October 8, 2020

In August, our daughter Sonia and I watched the blockbuster Hamilton on Disney Plus and agreed that it lived up to the hype. It got me thinking about how Gramma, my mother’s mother, had told me that her father’s family line included Aaron Burr. I got out the college research project I did for a course on the family. When I interviewed Gramma for it, she provided documentation of her father’s Marvin line going back to the 1600s in England as well as a treasure trove of old photographs, marriage licenses and family  Bibles from her mother and father with births and deaths recorded.  Regarding what she knew of my grandfather’s family, that was a different story. The two of them met at Wilmington College in Ohio. My grandfather was born in 1900 and had one sister who was born five years later. Their parents divorced and their father left in 1907. My grandfather’s mother, Cora Belle Luce Chance, apparently did not work outside of the home so my grandfather had to work all he could to help with finances. He put himself through college. His mother died right before his graduation. On her death certificate it says “unknown” for the name of her father. The woman who is listed as her mother also seems to be listed as her grandmother in one census. We don’t know much about Cora Belle, but it appears that she had a very difficult life, suffering from what might have been anxiety or depression. Thinking about this made me wonder if Cora grew up under a cloud or felt the sting of the stigma of having been born out-of-wedlock. The thought of children being looked down upon for any reason is repugnant. No child chooses their circumstances. If we adults do anything other than what builds up and helps all young people, we are failing. Children need as a very foundation the understanding that God created them and that they are of immeasurable worth. We want them to see through us how much God loves and values them. We do not want to be a discourager, a stumbling block or the cause of their loss of faith. Jesus showed us how to love and welcome children.

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’” (Mark 9:35-37) “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

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