Alternate lyrics for "Jesus loves the little children"? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-21-2006, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, so I'm teaching Sunday School for 2 year olds, and one of the classic "child" songs is "Jesus loves the little children". I like the tune, I like the sentiment, but the problem is that I cannot, will not sing the standard line in bold (it makes my skin crawl!)

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Any ideas on how to change it so that it's not offensive? I'm drawing a blank.

TIA

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Old 08-21-2006, 01:49 PM
 
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Probably doesn't make much sense, but still seven syllables: "come together in His light."

I learned that song in public school in NYC oddly enough; it was not the kind of song we sang in Catholic religious instruction.
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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Gaia loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
For a green world we must fight
Or she'll soon turn out the light.
Gaia loves the little children of the world.
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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"morning, evening, day and night"

"tall and heavy, short and light"
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:37 PM
 
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"tall and heavy, short and light"

Could be construed as "size-ism"

DaryLLL, the idea of Gaia turning out the light would have terrified my kids when they were little! They both had night lights for a looooong time!

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz
"morning, evening, day and night"
I like that one
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by tinybutterfly
"morning, evening, day and night"
That's good.

I agree that the idea of Gaia (or anyone for that matter) turning out the light would scare my kids! Ds was VERY worried about where the sun went when it went behind a cloud when he was 2-3.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:35 AM
 
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Don't flame me please.

I don't see anything wrong with that line. I would be offended if you did change it. To not acknowledge that we are different and made just the way God intended is not good. I feel as if changing it saying those are a bad thing. IMHO

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:38 AM
 
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We sing this:
Every child in every land,
Jesus holds them in His hand,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Hope that helps!

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Juliensiss
Don't flame me please.

I don't see anything wrong with that line. I would be offended if you did change it. To not acknowledge that we are different and made just the way God intended is not good. I feel as if changing it saying those are a bad thing. IMHO
No flaming, but I do want to explain my logic:

I'm all for acknowledging that we are different -- in fact, it's part of the theme of the day. I want to make sure that the kids are exposed to an age-appropriate multicultural curriculum -- and one aspect of that is to acknowledge differences, but also to talk accurately about skin color. I'm not "white" -- I'm pink (or if I forget sunscreen, then I am red ).

I said that I cannot sing those lyrics because I find them offensive.

My friends who are Asian are not "yellow", my friends who are African or African American aren't black, they are varying shades of brown, and the few people I know who are Native American are definitely not red. Dd's best friend at daycare has parents from Africa. She's not black. Her skin is dark brown. Dd's is pink, not white.

In addition, the "red" and "yellow" have very negative associations with them -- lots of ethnic slurs associated with them. So, I'd just as soon skip it.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie
We sing this:
Every child in every land,
Jesus holds them in His hand,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Hope that helps!
Thanks I like that too! Any other alternate versions out there? Maybe I can start a collection .

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:04 AM
 
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I love reading the different versions of this song.

I can see why you are asking for an updated version. Using the term "red man" would be offensive to many people, for example.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6
That's good.

I agree that the idea of Gaia (or anyone for that matter) turning out the light would scare my kids! Ds was VERY worried about where the sun went when it went behind a cloud when he was 2-3.
Thank you , but credit for "morning, evening, day or night" goes to fek&fuz.

One of my sons used to worry that the moon was "following" us everywhere we went.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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Personally, I don't feel it's the Sunday School teachers responsibility to teach the kids in this way. This is the parents job, not the Sunday School teachers. I would be VERY offended (and I'm sure there will be some of the parents in your classroom who will agree) if my child came home singing one of these variations. While I think that they are great (love the one about all the children in the land, Jesus holds them in His hands) I don't think it's the Sunday School teachers place to step in and teach this way. Just my personal opinion

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kellym
Personally, I don't feel it's your responsibility to teach the kids in this way. This is the parents job, not the Sunday School teachers. I would be VERY offended (and I'm sure there will be some of the parents in your classroom who will agree) if my child came home singing one of these variations. While I think that they are great (love the one about all the children in the land, Jesus holds them in His hands) I don't think it's the Sunday School teachers place to step in and teach this way. Just my personal opinion

:
I'm a Sunday School teacher and I sing the "alternate lyrics". It's not teaching the children in any particular way, it's just singing non-outdated lyrics. And referring to any person as "red" or "yellow" IS outdated and offensive. It's not like (at least in my case) the song is even part of the official curriculum. It's filler. I can't imagine a parent in the world being offended because their child sings "every child in every land".

Now obviously, ,ost mainline Christian churches aren't going to sing the verse about Gaia. (Not that it isn't a nice rendition, DaryLLL!). But I just don't get how updated a verse is in any way teaching in some new and different and uppity way.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:12 PM
 
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Then in that case, just don't sing the song at all. If you don't like it, don't incorporate it as a 'filler'. Sing Deep & Wide (can't get more 'generic' than that! Doesn't mention Jesus or God or ANYTHING spiritual). Teach them the B~I~B~L~E or a million other songs. Why do you feel the need to change these lyrics and teach them this 'multiculturalism'?
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:19 PM
 
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I can see where you are coming from, but I personally think it is perfectly fine

Kids associate things with color alot of times. At least I know I did. I used to think that my kindergarten teacher who had all gray hair had blue hair, because of the way the light would shine on it. Simple fact of the matter is, kids that are very young notice color differences in skin and probably wonder about it. I think the song could adress the issue. It's not like you are saying highly offensive terms such as "orientals" and other terms I won't mention here.

that said, I think it is fine for very young children. I would change it if they were a bit older and understood a bit more.

I don't think I would be offended though as a parent if the lyrics were changed to something more age appropriate.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kellym
Then in that case, just don't sing the song at all. If you don't like it, don't incorporate it as a 'filler'. Sing Deep & Wide (can't get more 'generic' than that! Doesn't mention Jesus or God or ANYTHING spiritual). Teach them the B~I~B~L~E or a million other songs. Why do you feel the need to change these lyrics and teach them this 'multiculturalism'?
Because it's a great singable little song for children. By the way, you may not like this, but I change the words of the B-I-B-L-E, too. Bwahahahah!

Multiculturalism is not a dirty word. Social justice and welcoming everyone by not teaching/perpetuating racial slurs such as referring to someone as red or yellow is a big part of being a Christian. Certainly you should abide by your own church's "rules" on this, but I can assure you that my own pastor is perfectly fine with using less offensive words when singing children's Bible songs.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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I have to agree if you dont like the song as it is then dont sing it at all. There are tons of other songs out there. Personally I dont care for the wording either with the colors. If you type in search for the song you can pull up many different versions of it.

 
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie
Because it's a great singable little song for children. By the way, you may not like this, but I change the words of the B-I-B-L-E, too. Bwahahahah!

Multiculturalism is not a dirty word. Social justice and welcoming everyone by not teaching/perpetuating racial slurs such as referring to someone as red or yellow is a big part of being a Christian. Certainly you should abide by your own church's "rules" on this, but I can assure you that my own pastor is perfectly fine with using less offensive words when singing children's Bible songs.
I would be interested to see how you changed the B I B L E song. And why you do so?? Just curious

 
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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I agree that multiculruralism isn't a dirty word. I'm married to a Mexican, live in a predominantly 'black' neighborhood (and haven't had a single one come and say that I'm 'peach' or that they are 'chocolate brown not black'). My DH and I are working to open an orphanage in India and to set up some work with young girls coming out of the sex slave industry. I live outside of Dearborn (where there are more Arab Americans than anywhere else outside of the middle east) and not far from W. Bloomfield (with a very high population of Jewish Americans). I'm well aware of multiculturalism. I appreciate multiculturalism, I just think that it would be better to avoid the song all together if it offends you.

Do you happen to go to a UU or a Episcopalian church?
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2
I have to agree if you dont like the song as it is then dont sing it at all.
I guess I don't understand this line of thinking. These songs aren't Scripture, for pity sake. They're folk music of a sort, passed on by oral tradition. There are tons of variety in verses. Why cling to something that's no longer appropriate? Why should we get rid of something completely when there are perfectly servicable alternate verses? I guess I'm having trouble understanding the whole "If you don't sing it as it was originally written, don't sing it at all" mindset. Do you read Scripture in the original Hebrew and Greek too?

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kellym
Do you happen to go to a UU or a Episcopalian church?
Nope. Do you?

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2
I would be interested to see how you changed the B I B L E song. And why you do so?? Just curious
Instead of standing alone on the Word of God, we stand strong on it. Sola Scriptura is not actually supported by Scripture, so it seems silly to sing about it.

We say an alternate "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" prayer, too. (Thy angels guard me through the night and wake me with the morning light.") My point is that prayers, hymns, Bible songs, etc, are all part of an oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. They're nothing that are carved in stone.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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Instead of standing alone on the Word of God, we stand strong on it. Sola Scriptura is not actually supported by Scripture, so it seems silly to sing about it.
Ok, another question. To ME, with the B~I~B~L~E, to say "stand alone" means that if no one else was standing on the Word of God, that you would. I agree with 'standing strong' but I always understood 'stand alone' to mean that if no one else was standing, I would.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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Seems to me that if the parents don't want these lessons taught, they'd not have them in Sunday school.

I like the Gaia version, of course. Might have to change that "turning out the light" line though. I don't know that we need to lay quite that heavy a load on little kids while teaching them to care for our Earth home.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kellym
Ok, another question. To ME, with the B~I~B~L~E, to say "stand alone" means that if no one else was standing on the Word of God, that you would. I agree with 'standing strong' but I always understood 'stand alone' to mean that if no one else was standing, I would.
That's an interpretation I never thought of. I always thought, since it was a song extolling the Bible, the point was Sola Scriptura. Interesting.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:50 PM
 
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Instead of standing alone on the Word of God, we stand strong on it. Sola Scriptura is not actually supported by Scripture, so it seems silly to sing about it.
Ok, another question. To ME, with the B~I~B~L~E, to say "stand alone" means that if no one else was standing on the Word of God, that you would. I agree with 'standing strong' but I always understood 'stand alone' to mean that if no one else was standing, I would.

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My point is that prayers, hymns, Bible songs, etc, are all part of an oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. They're nothing that are carved in stone.
I wonder if Christianity is the only religion where this is acceptable. We are currently studying some aspects of Judiasm and possibly looking to go to a Messianic Jewish church soon. If they were to alter their prayers, there would be major issues within the church. Same goes with Islam. They don't just change their prayers or songs to fit the desires of a few teachers or some people who may not agree.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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I'll take the B~I~B~L~E argument to a whole different level. I think that to sing this song is making a bit of an idol out of the Bible to begin with. I went to a highschool that if we put anything on top of our Bible in our stack of books, we would get detention. If we were seen drawing in it, highlighting even, detention. To sing a song about the Bible could also be seen as idolizing it, which is NOT Biblical. The Bible says to have nothing above God (no other images or idols above God) and imo, that would include the Bible. We put ALL our stock in and don't even let God Himself talk to us. We go to pray and do all the talking and never just shut up and listen. We put the Bible as the end all be all of our beliefs and hold it to a higher esteem than Jesus Christ himself much of the time. (Off my soapbox on that one now).
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kellym
I wonder if Christianity is the only religion where this is acceptable. We are currently studying some aspects of Judiasm and possibly looking to go to a Messianic Jewish church soon. If they were to alter their prayers, there would be major issues within the church. Same goes with Islam. They don't just change their prayers or songs to fit the desires of a few teachers or some people who may not agree.
Isn't there a huge oral tradition in the Jewish faith?

I don't understand why updating a children's song is such a huge, huge deal. Is there some major theological point tied up in calling children "red and yellow, black and white?" Why is it so important? Or are we just worshipping tradition? Isn't that almost a form of idolitry, to cling to tradition purely for tradition's sake? And if we can change something, maintain the meaning (every child in every land, Jesus holds them in His hand) and get rid of the risk of offending someone by referring to them as "red" or "yellow" (and it IS a racial slur, make no bones about it), why on earth would we dig in our heals and insist on singing the more archaic, offensive version?

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