Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tossing this out there

My kids have been singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" lately. I'd say it's cute, but honestly, it makes me cringe. These are the words:

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.

What I am about to say will be perceived by some as overreaction on my part. Or maybe you simply won't believe it. So be it. But I am saying it anyway.

Referring to people as "red" or "yellow" isn't always so well received by the recipients of those names. "Black" is falling into that category more often now too.

Please do not leave me comments about how it doesn't bother you to be called "white" because that's what you are, and so why is it such a big deal to refer to people's color if that's what they are. If that is what you are thinking, then I am probably not going to convince you any differently, and you will likely go on singing "Jesus Love the Little Children" as you always have (if you sing it at all.)

For those of you who believe me and don't feel defensive about it, may I offer a suggestion? These are the words that I heard a member of our travel group singing when we were in China.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Big and little, dark and light,
All are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

I wish I had remembered these words and taught them to my kids. But hearing them sing the old version prompted me to contact my friend and ask her for the words. Turns out she made them up because she wasn't so fond of the original version either.

So, the suggestion is this: have courage enough that, next time you hear this song, you take the opportunity to educate people and offer these alternative lyrics.

And just for taking me up on this offer, I will throw in the following bonus, free of charge:

Objects are "oriental" (like a rug, a lamp, or a type of cuisine.)
People are "Asian."

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Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

It's not too late to retrain on the lyrics! I've done this before myself! Yikes--I have been there. And I love your friend's rewrite.

Thu May 31, 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't change the words, leave the words as written because when you kids go to church and sing this sing with there Sunday School Class, they will be singing it incorrectly. This is GOD SONG leave it alone. There is nothing wrong with it.


Thu May 31, 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger ShaggaBear said...

I LOVE the new words! Much better! I was a little put off by the old ones, as well.

And I think I have successfully re-trained my family on the oriental/asian word choice.

..."God song"????

Fri Jun 01, 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I hadn't thought much about it, so I guess the verdict is out for me. I do like the rewrite though. I know I sing the old version at night to my kids.

And I'm with Shaggabear...God Song??? I don't think God penned the lyrics or anything. It's not like you're asking to change scripture or anything.

Sun Jun 03, 01:48:00 PM  

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