Jesus Talked to Children

An all-ages song

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson

Lyrics as Poetry

Jesus talked to children.
He set them on his knee.
Jesus laughed with boys and girls,
and helped them all to see
that God’s world is a good place,
a laughing place to be.
And God’s world needs our loving,
our stretching to be free.Jesus talked to children.
He took them by the hand.
Jesus cried with girls and boys,
and helped them understand
that God’s world is a hard place,
a crying place to be.
And God’s world needs our loving,
our stretching to be free.Jesus talked to children.
He named them each his friend.
Jesus walked with girls and boys,
and helped them learn to spend.
For God’s world is a shared place,
a needing place to be.
And God’s world needs our loving,
our stretching to be free.He talked and laughed and cried
and taught to be free!

Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1984 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song


When our children were small we had neighbors, George and Dorrie Strachan. They had retired from the farm and lived in a little bungalow surrounded by families with children. George had suffered a painful and crippling rheumatoid arthritis and his mobility was severely compromised. George and Dorrie were faithful Christians and George our much loved Sunday School Superintendent.

The Strachan home was always open to children and almost every day, excepting Sundays, a coterie of little people would call on the Strachans to be treated with little packages of raisins or some of Dorrie’s home baking. When children from a household were missing George would find his way to their home with their raisin ration carefully wrapped and his concern for them open and genuine. Assured that it wasn’t necessary to always have a treat for the children, George squelched objections with the response, “I only use my pub money. A gentleman is entitled to spend his pub money without being questioned.” He was, by the way, a teatotaller!

Both George and Dorrie had the grace and the gift of talking to children. They shared celebrations, soothed hurts, gently offered other ways of seeing things, listened. I wonder, as I write this, if, when I wrote the song, I had George and Dorrie in mind.

Please note: If you are a person over 16 reading this, would you make contact with a child and talk with them – speak and listen, listen and speak – using voice if possible? It may be days or months since you have done that.

Jesus liked kids, children. They in turn liked him and were happy to be around him. Caring parents appreciated the opportunity to bring small children to him that he might bless them.

It really should surprise us that there are as many places in the gospels that speak of children and their interactions with Jesus. We, in our society, are used to seeing portrayals of Jesus surrounded by children. But those tend to be stylized – somewhat of the photo-op genre! Children as example, children as role model, childlikeness seen as a virtue, is really quite revolutionary. It was that in Jesus’ time and culture and in truth is such today in our culture. The reaction of the disciples to the mothers bringing their children to Jesus probably reflects more accurately a more typical adult world response to children, especially active, probing, boundary-pushing children. We see and hear this in the way many adults can be dismissive of children who protest inaction around climate change, unaddressed poverty, homelessness, illiteracy. We sometimes justify educating children away from compassion, away from acceptance of others, away from desire to help a stranger.

Children know who has time for them and who does not. They know who sees them and who does not. They know who listens. They know who understands that they know true joy and that they experience times of absolute desolation.

Jesus was a carpenter. I have noted how often children are attracted to adults who are doers, often solitary doers, who don’t mind, as they do their work, watching some game being played or listening to some story. Children are often attracted to people who laugh and joke and perhaps know some magic tricks. They often have, as friends, people who understand sadness. They tend to like people who do things with them or show them how to do things, or help them see things they otherwise would never notice.

Certainly when Jesus tells the disciples that they need to be more child-like, it is unlikely that he meant that they should be more obedient, naïve about pain and suffering and evil, or complacent in the face of injustices and inequalities. It is good to reflect on what specific characteristics Jesus might have listed and on what those characteristics, when adopted by adults, would look like.

In the Gospel according to John we’re told that the sharing of food began with a small boy being ready to share his lunch. We can all name young people who in their generation have questioned great evils or addressed overwhelming needs in ways that produced major changes in the lives of many.

Within the churches, and within our families and communities, there is a need to see the ways in which we walk well with children and ways in which we do not.

Children in hospitals may be ignored by pastoral care givers, or addressed only through a parent. Similarly children may be handed over to professional grief counsellors rather than being approached individually or within a family context.

Our society would claim to be child-orientated but globally (and locally) we tolerate child soldiering, sexual and physical abuse, consumerization. Too many of the wealthiest countries in the world have astounding rates of child hunger and malnourishment, homelessness. Times of austerity tend to produce budget cuts clearly affecting programs of health, education, social support and arts and recreation for families, children and youth.

As you consider this song it would be worthwhile reflecting on how you have seen for yourself, and for children you know and others you have heard about, how God’s world has proven to be a laughing place, a hard place, a sharing place, a needing place.

Similarly, it is worth reflecting on how talking, laughing, crying and teaching can each be part of our stretching to be free. What does it mean to stretch to be free? How does this engage us throughout the years of life and of discipleship? From what might we want to be freed? For what might we want to be freed? Is it not curious that talking, laughing, and crying can each be a means of arriving at greater freedom — and that talking, laughing, crying can also be signs of freedoms being approached or freedoms being achieved?

                                                    Audio Sample

One verse plus Ending
played on piano

Scripture References

  • Matthew 18:1-6
  • Matthew 19:13-15
  • Matthew 21:1-16
  • Luke 9:46-48
  • John 6:1-14

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • All-ages
  • Children∶ music for
  • Intergenerational
  • Jesus∶ children
  • Jesus∶ friend
  • Jesus∶ teacher
  • Life∶ loving life

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