Leaving childhood: Holy Innocents Day

Massacre of the Innocents by Fra Angelico

Today is Holy Innocents Day, when we are called to remember childhood how children have been slaughtered. The focus is on the baby boys Herod slaughtered in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus, but also embraces the children slaughtered throughout history.

Jesus teaches that “unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18) This prompts the question about what childhood is. Is it something about vulnerability, dependence, naively and learning. Jesus added the word “humility”. “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

And then we grow out of childhood, spending a lot of our time bigging ourselves up, taking ourselves out of reach of that kingdom Jesus spoke about.

I am reading organisations don’t tweet, people do by Euan Semple? He seems to suggest that the qualities that make for childhood are the qualities that are needed for leaders and organisations to be successful as he talks about vulnerability and humility in these terms:

“Being open about your failings isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and wouldn’t be acceptable in every workplace, but just a little more openness about your failings in front of your staff might be just be the best way to improve your working relationships. Being seen not to know, and being willing to ask for help, can be the best way to make other people feel valued. It also signals to them that it is OK not to know everything all the time. This creates the sort of culture where people are willing to open up and share what they know to everyone’s mutual benefit.”

>Overwhelming silence

>How loud should we sing?
That was the question of a group of singers.
The reply: “so that you can hear the voice of your neighbour”.

How loud should we live?
Not so loud that we drown out the voice of our neighbour.

And who is my neighbour?

Everyone has a voice,
but not everyone’s voice is heard.

Children, gays, women, disabled, vanquished and victim
raise their voices, create disturbance.

Desparate voices breaking the silence
challenging the harmonies of the old song lines.

The sounds echo in controversy
as loud chatter decides to reject or accept the discord.

But I have not found a voice for the old lady fading away
unnoticed in a corner of a cul-de-sac,
nor heard the sound of Congolese children.
I dread to hear what they sound like
when the soldiers enter their village.