Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Like me, you love Motown Records’ golden oldies. One of the songs on my favorite playlist is, Save the Children, by the late, great Marvin Gaye. Published in 1971 in Marvin’s album What’s Going On? this song is prophetic. View a video of it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEA-m4kibzM or check it out at Amazon Music, https://www.amazon.com/music/unlimited?tag=39382074us-20 at no cost, for thirty days.
Whenever Save the Children begins playing, I must sit down and back to settle my nerves. Rocking back and forth to its lyrics and Marvin’s melodic voice, Save the Children hits me in the deepest crevices of my spirit. I love children, you see! Their innocence makes me want to be a better person. Their laughter and way of folding their arms around you fills my soul with joy. Things that come out of their innocent mouth at the most unexpected of times make me smile. You, I’m sure, know what I mean whether you’ve ever had a child of your own, helped raised someone else’s, or merely encounter them while you’re out.
Save the Children opens with -
“I just want to ask a question, who really cares?
Who really cares to save a world that is in despair? Who really cares?
There’ll come a time when the world won’t be singing, (when the world won’t be singing).
Flowers won’t grow (flowers won’t grow).
Bells won’t be ringing (the bells won’t be ringing).
Who really cares? (Who really cares?)
Who’s willing to try? (Who is willing to try?)
To save the world (to save a world) that is destined to die.
When I look at the world it (When I look at the world)
It fills me with sorrow (it fills me with sorrow)
Little children today (children today)
Are really going to suffer to (really suffer tomorrow) ….”
Marvin entreats us to not only ‘save the babies but also to live for life.’ Listeners hear the increasing distress in the music legend’s voice. Here, forty years later, Save the Children remains striking. This song could have been written yesterday. It makes me grieve for all the children that the United States of America, has lost not only to gun violence in school buildings, schoolyards, and neighborhoods, but also because of poverty, malnutrition, and an absence of encouraging role-models. My grief extends beyond sadness. It is utter despair. How can the sole Superpower in the World care less about children than pets, extinguishing species like wolves, and what team wins the Super Bowl! If anyone were to accuse me of being melodramatic, I’d say, “Look around”! You’ll see our failures to build educational systems that lift our young ones and simultaneously enrich their minds and fill their bellies, before and after school, so that they’re ready to learn. Look around! Where are the legions needed to create in our youth confidence and knowledge that they, regardless of the circumstances in which they’re raised or by whom are valuable and valued? Admittedly, there are fortunate children, adolescents, and young people are well cared for and fully nurtured. Mine were. Knowing that we’d be able to provide for our children, before they were even conceived, my husband and I recognized that many have little. Mentoring through the Partners Program was richly gratifying. As we helped expose children to a world they never would have known existed and nurturing them expanded our own humanness.
There are vast ways to help those coming after us. If each of us simply extends a hand and heart to help just one child, youngster, or young individual, imagine the power of goodness that would manifest into the future, as most helped are likely to Pay it Forward. We may be busy. Everyone has twenty-four hours in a day. We get to choose how those hours are spent. Here’s a sampling of ideas that, once implemented, will undoubtedly, leave this world better than found.
Arrange to visit a school and volunteer an hour or two to help students enhance their proficiencies in reading, writing, math, spelling, and science.
At a school of your choice, buy lunch to each with students while chatting with them.
Show up as part of an Adopt-a-School Program or arrange a similar one with a school and engage students, allowing them to see what’s possible with determination and hard work.
Take food to a nearby food pantry frequented by families with children.
Donate toiletries, backpacks, books, toys, or school supplies to a shelter housing mothers or families with children.
Like a dear friend, utilize programs for homeless teens, to support.
Donate your children’s/grandchildren’s barely worn clothes to thrift stores instead of throwing them into trash bins to be hauled away to a landfill steadily filling with otherwise recyclable unwanted items or outgrown clothing.
Give away barely worn business attire to organizations that help poor and lower- income women Dress-for-Success.
Recycle to reduce carbon emissions which cause significantly higher rates of cancer, asthma, and other severe diseases in impoverished and low-income neighborhoods. Did you know that state governments commonly issue permits allowing landfills and highways to be built in or close to such neighborhoods, causing residents to suffer irreparable harm?
Attend city council and/or school board meeting, and demand actions to improve neighborhoods and lives of those who lack a strident voice.
Simply smiling at and telling a child passerby that she or he is beautiful/handsome goes a long way, as experience has taught for some children grow up without ever hearing these words! Stand for something that you care about and please don’t sit idly by on the sidelines waiting for someone else to take action. If you’re already at the forefront of the Save the Children Movement, share this message with another who may not be.