Unleash the Potential

By Terry Wardle

March 4, 2012

I came across a statement made by President James Garfield. He said, “I never see a ragged (child) in the street without feeling that I may owe him a salute, for I know what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat.”

This statement takes on more power when you know the back ground. Garfield was raised in abject poverty. His father died at 33 years old and his mother raised four children on a small farm in Ohio. It was his mother and older brother who made the way for James Garfield to get an education. Determined to honor them both, he studied diligently and went on to eventually become President of the United States.

Knowing the nature of the journey, Garfield was sensitive to not overlook the potential that is resident in the children of poverty. No matter how down and out their circumstances and station, he believed they were worthy of honor and respect.

Jesus held this view of children. Most all of us are aware of the story when Jesus was indignant with his disciples as they tried to keep the little children away from him. He rebuked them and said that the Kingdom belonged to them. He then held and blessed the little ones.

There is also statement of Jesus in Mark 9: 37 that is quite telling. Jesus said that whoever welcomes a child in his name welcomes him. And, that whoever welcomes him welcomes the one who sent him. What an amazing statement about the value and potential of a child.

May our eyes see the wonder that lies beneath the little ones, and may our actions help to unleash the incredible potential that is held within their lives.

Keywords: child, potential
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