Tag Archives: children


Using my brand new Reduced Fare Subway Card, I boarded the 1 Train at South Ferry.

Three stops later, a group of children participating in a summer enrichment program entered the car I was riding. Young adult chaperones boarded with them. The volume in the car increased dramatically.

At the next couple stops, I noticed some of the older folks slipping off the train. Had it reached their stop? Or were they retreating from the chaos and noise?

At the third stop (sixth total), the process repeated. Another group of children participating in the same summer enrichment program entered, along with some young adult chaperones. Older folks left.

By the time we reached my stop, there were probably 50 children, 12 young adult chaperones, and maybe 3 of us who were not part of the group.

On my way out I said in a loud voice (I may be old but I’ve still got it) that brought silence to the car: “Children, you are wonderful. Thank you for allowing me to share your ride.”

After a beat I said, “You young adults who are working with the children, thank you for the work you are doing.”

Many little hands waved at me as the train pulled past me.

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11 Dec #Grow #AdventWord 2018

11 Dec #Grow

It’s the house where it happened; the home where they grew.
Sean was two when we moved in;
it is the only place Eric lived until he went to college.
This was taken on the day we scattered.
We still own the home atlthough none of us live there any more..
Tricia is in Louisville.
Sean and I are in diferent parts of Manhattan.
Eric and Essie are in Ann Arbor.


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10 Dec #Cry #AdventWord 2018

10 Dec #growThe Advent devotional project, #AdventWord  is offered by the Society of St John the Evangelist. Each day a word is provided and participants are invited to share images and/or reflections and to use hashtags so our reflections may be included in an Advent Calendar with others from around the world.

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Filed under Advent, Human Rights, New York, Photo, United Nations


A friend and I drove up to an ATM. I was in the driver’s seat.I asked if she wanted me to back up and allow her to walk up to the machine. She handed me her card and gave me her PIN number.

“I trust you with my child,” she said. “I am certainly going to trust you with my PIN.”

To all my friends, most recently the parents of Ms. E, who have shown me that trust – you have my thanks.


15 April 2016
Washington, DC
photo by Shannan Vance-Ocampo

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The Meaning of Children: Later

My friend Mihee Kim-Kort is hosting a series on her First Day Walking blog that features stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Today she honored me by allowing me to share some reflections. Hope I didn’t embarrass anyone. Also, a big shout out to Mihee for calling me “seasoned” as she promoted the post on Twitter.

The Meaning of Children

In May FDW is hosting a new series on  stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Click here for more on the series and a list of the contributors. This post was written by friend and colleague Mark Koenig.

Every parent-child relationship is unique. As is every child-parent relationship. And every relationship between or among siblings. And every relationship within the web of family by choice and family by birth.

Affirming that, my words are descriptive, struggling to capture my unique reality. They neither prescribe nor proscribe. If they resonate with anyone else, provide insight or guidance, that’s grace.

I write as the father of two men. My older son is 32; my younger son 27. My sons, at this and every age. My children. Looking back across the years, I find a number of dimensions of meaning in…

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The Meaning of Children: Letter to Jonathan

In May, my friend Mihee Kim-Kort is hosting a series on her blog, First Day Walking, that features stories from people in many walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. All the posts are amazing. Here, my friend Larissa Kwong Abazia, vice-moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shares part a letter she is writing to her son Jonathan about facing breast cancer. The courage, grace, faith, hope, and love of Jonathan, Dan, and Larissa move and inspire me.

The Meaning of Children

In May FDW is hosting a new series on  stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Click here for more on the series and a list of the contributors. This post was written by my wonderful and beautiful friend Larissa Kwong Abazia. So honored to have her here.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015. This is a portion of a letter I’ve been writing to my three year old son, Jonathan.

Dear Jonathan,

I’m writing you this letter trusting that I will be around to see your first day of kindergarten, watch you graduate from high school, and be a part of every single step in-between (and after!).  Writing to you during a time that you may or may not remember is important to me. I want you to know how you are an important part of…

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On my heart and mind: children

Child soldiersA while back, I posted a sermon about children. Grieving the many places where children endure unimaginable violation, it affirms our call to care for children:

In this place, I am reminded that God is at work in all places. And that sustains and challenges me to look for how God is at work and, as the Holy Spirit gives me grace, to join in that work.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Faith in God in Christ have put them there.

And in this place, God invites us all to join in caring for the children. The children of this congregation. The children of this community. All the children, all God’s children of the world. May we hear and respond.

Today, my friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz posted a reflection on children “Children Aren’t Disposable“. She reaches a similar conclusion:

I think children matter. I think everyone’s child matters. I do not believe that parents or communities or even children need to be virtuous or free of fault in order to think their children and perhaps even their parents deserve protection and generosity. You can make all the bad decisions you want, but I still believe you and your children deserve life. I extrapolated this from the lesson my parents drummed into me: You do not have to earn grace. It has already been given.

Children matter. Their families matter. Grace has already been given. Let’s act like it.

And she does a better job of lifting up ways to act:

Support the Children’s Defense Fund. They do great work at a policy level.

Read Toxic Charity. Consider changing your mission to be less charity and offers more agency to people. Bulk discounts (for your Sunday school or book group) are available. http://www.thethoughtfulchristian.com/Products/9780062076212/toxic-charity–paperback-edition.aspx

Write letters to migrant children. http://www.groundswell-mvmt.org/faithshare/people-are-writing-letters-to-the-migrant-children-and-they-are-beautiful/

Advocate for immigration reform that will allow people dignity and a path to regularization. Congress has recessed for August, so there isn’t legislation to advocate for. But you can still leave a message with your U.S. and state congresspeople urging them to support meaningful immigration reform and humane immigration processes, particularly for children and their parents who may be eligible for asylum, rather than increased criminalization and security measures. TheThoughtfulChristian.com has many books and downloadable studies to help you and your church talk about immigration and take action.

Oppose zero-tolerance policies in schools, stop and frisk public policing, and other ways that disproportionately criminalize black and brown youth.

You may give to UNICEF and UNRWA, who work with children in Gaza and the occupied territories. You can also ask your congresspeople to reconsider our typical military aid package to the nation of Israel. You could work with local peace organizations to advocate for an end to the blockade and the occupation.

Children matter. Join in caring for them.

See you along the Trail.

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