Who takes the child by the hand…

“Who takes the child by the hand, takes the parent by the heart.” This traditional saying was quoted by then Secretary of Education, Richard Riley in a forum I attended in 2000 on partnerships between schools and religious organizations. Secretary Riley as an elder statesman, speaking in quiet tones conveyed the importance of educating children with love, wisdom and humility. Secretary Riley was appointed Education Secretary by President Bill Clinton and as such has been hailed as one of Clinton’s greatest appointments. Secretary Riley spoke these words as a former governor and legislator from his home state of South Carolina, but he also spoke as a father of four grown children.

“Who takes the child by he hand, takes the parent by the heart.” This saying has been close to my heart as I have worked with many children and their parents. It helps me to remember that whenever I meet with a child I am holding a parent’s most precious asset. Parents have many dreams and hopes for their children; in their child they see the promise of a new life that can be brighter, happier more fulfilling than their own. A child’s hand, placed in the hand of a teacher, a therapist or any adult, is a kind of scared trust. When talking with parents it often occurs to me to thank them for the privilege of working with their child.

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