Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Pray & Accept Responsibility


We pray/accept responsibility for children
    who sneak Popsicles before supper,
    who erase holes in math workbooks,
    who can never find their shoes.


And we pray/accept responsibility for those
    who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
    who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
    who never "counted potatoes,"
    who were born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
    who never go to the circus,
    who live in an X-rated world.


We pray/accept responsibility for children
    who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
    who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.


And we pray/accept responsibility for those
    who never get dessert,
    who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
    who watch their parents watch them die,
    who can't find any bread to steal,
    who don't have any rooms to clean up,
    who pictures aren't on anybody's dresser
    and whose monsters are real.


We pray/accept responsibility for children
    who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
    who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
    who like ghost stories
    who shove dirty clothes under the bead and never rinse out the tub,
    who get visits from the tooth fairy,
    who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
    who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
    whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.


And we pray/accept responsibility for those
    whose nightmares come in the daytime,
    who will eat anything,
    who have never seen a dentist,
    who aren't spoiled by anybody,
    who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
    who live and move, but have no being.


We pray/accept responsibility for children
    who want to be carried and for those who must,
    for those we never give up on and 
    those who don't get a second chance,
    for those we smother and for those who will grab
    the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.

(Adapted from Ina J. Hughes)
from the book Guide My Feet by Marian Wright Edelman

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