Rockabye baby on the tree tops
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
A lullalbye that tells no lies.
Of course a bough’s break leaves little in its wake.
But what is a cradle doing in a treetop anyway?
Today I practice lockdown with ten and eleven year olds.
When the words: Lock! Down! pierces sharp over the intercom we are supposed to hide.
We must become invisible.
We are hiding from the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. If we don’t move, he can’t eat us.
We explain that we will do everything we can to keep everyone safe, but eleven year olds try to poke holes in that promise and question us with every possible scenario that could happen. Many of these children have eyes already glazed over from violence attached to a remote.
The intercom words come and children jump from their chairs and make a line.
It is an organized hurry that ends in hush, an exhale of pretend panic. The unspoken, this is just a drill eases our hearts only a little.
It takes all of four seconds. We lock the doors and wait.
Stillness settles heavy and children, small to begin with, settle smaller.
They get low.
The adults stand pacing, index fingers against smile pasted lips.
We wait for the knock on the door and the A -okay.
Except I am not a-okay. Cradles do not belong in trees and, unless they are embarking on a journey to Narnia, children do not belong in closets. I am so not a-okay with lullabyes that scare children asleep and lockdowns that scare them awake.
Children are a gift from God and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
A quiver full of children? So they are arrows, are they?
Arrows piercing mercy. Arrow shooting hope. Arrows plunging love.
Things children do so well.
No wonder the enemy prowls.
No wonder the enemy loves lockdowns. Lock up those arrows and bind them with fear. Paralyze them with mis-use so they cannot be used for glorious things.
Children belong in quivers, not closets. They belong wrapped in quivers that are strapped safely to the backs of those who recognize they’re destined to be launched to do great things.
We, who hold quivers, whether in the home or the classroom or the daycare or the city park or the neighborhood, it is time to gather the arrows, the gifts from the Ancient of Days Himself.