Sunday, November 08, 2015

Sermons From Rope Skipping

In case you've never heard of Henson Cargill, he was a singer born in Oklahoma in 1941. Henson's  family was civic minded; his grandpa had served as mayor of Oklahoma City in the 1920s. Although he'd studied veterinary medicine in college and had worked in various areas of law enforcement, Cargill made his mark on the country music scene and the American social conscience in 1967 with a song he penned called Skip A Rope. Set to the beat of  jump rope cadence, Cargill spoke of the hypocrisy he saw in our culture through the words of children. It went like this:
Skip a rope, skip a rope
Oh, listen to the children
While they play
Now ain't it kinda funny
What the children say
Skip a rope

Daddy hates mommy
Mommy hates dad
Last night you shoulda heard
The fight they had

Gave little sister
Another bad dream
She woke us all up
With a terrible scream
Cheat on your taxes
Don't be a fool
Now what was that they said
About a golden rule

Never mind the rules
Just play to win
And hate your neighbor
For the shade of his skin
Stab em in the back
That's the name of the game
And mommy and daddy
Are who's to blame

Skip a rope, skip a rope
Just listen to your children
While they play
It's really not very funny
What the children say
Skip a rope, skip a rope
Skip a rope, skip a rope

The song soared to number 1  on the country charts and stayed put for five weeks. Displaying its crossover appeal, it also cracked the pop charts. The tune was catchy and the chanting brought back memories of the little girls  jumping rope on the Willard School playground back in Nebraska. But the point of the very pointed lyrics is that kids aren't blind. They see with unfiltered eyes, often much more clearly than we dream. And sometimes those reflections are turned into unfiltered utterances in public places. I've heard my share of those in junior high classes. Once, a girl told me in a class discussion that, "My father stayed married to my mother until he found someone better looking." Another time, another girl confided to a whole class that, "My mom married this guy just so we could have a place to sleep at night." Those made me shudder. My mom was an elementary teacher who taught in four decades if I am not mistaken. She had some hilarious stories of what small children would repeat that came from their parents' lips. Mom told us it was hard to keep a straight face sometimes at conferences. But cuteness aside, kids learn from their folks or whatever adult has control over them the most. The good things? They pick that up. The bad habits? Those too. Our likes and dislikes, our preferences and prejudices, our quirks and our belief system. Jesus loved kids although His Twelve often found them annoying. You know, Jesus was a kid once just like us. I'm pretty confident he took in and digested every word Mary and Joseph uttered in HIS presence. What a responsibility they had- just like very other set of parents in the intervening 2000 years. Skip a rope.

Applicable quote of the day:
Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next. 
Franklin P. Jones

To hear Skip A Rope, click the link below:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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