Summary: A baptismal talk reflecting of some very incisive thoughts from the late Michael Jackson about the importance of a good childhood

Baptism of Georgina Bailey 28-06-09


Last week was marred by the death of Michael Jackson

One of the saddest comments I heard Michael Jackson make was when he was being interviewed and he said that his father had never told him that he loved him.

In a speech at Oxford University in March 2001 he spoke very perceptively when he said this:

(Quote): “All of us are products of our childhood.

But I am the product of a lack of a childhood, an absence of that precious and wondrous age when we frolic playfully without a care in the world, basking in the adoration of parents and relatives, where our biggest concern is studying for that big spelling test come Monday morning.

Those of you who are familiar with the Jackson Five know that I began performing at the tender age of five and that ever since then, I haven’t stopped dancing or singing.

But while performing and making music undoubtedly remain as some of my greatest joys, when I was young I wanted more than anything else to be a typical little boy.

I wanted to build tree houses, have water balloon fights, and play hide and seek with my friends.

But fate had it otherwise and all I could do was envy the laughter and playtime that seemed to be going on all around me.

There was no respite from my professional life.

But on Sundays I would go Pioneering, the term used for the missionary work that Jehovah’s Witnesses do.

And it was then that I was able to see the magic of other people’s childhood.

Since I was already a celebrity, I would have to don a disguise of fat suit, wig, beard and glasses and we would spend the day in the suburbs of Southern California, going door-to-door or making the rounds of shopping malls, distributing our Watchtower magazine.

I loved to set foot in all those regular suburban houses and catch sight of the shag rugs and La-Z-Boy armchairs with kids playing Monopoly and grandmas baby-sitting and all those wonderful, ordinary and starry scenes of everyday life.

Many, I know, would argue that these things seem like no big deal. But to me they were mesmerising.

…………Love, ladies and gentlemen, is the human family’s most precious legacy, its richest bequest, its golden inheritance.

And it is a treasure that is handed down from one generation to another.

Previous ages may not have had the wealth we enjoy.

Their houses may have lacked electricity, and they squeezed their many kids into small homes without central heating.

But those homes had no darkness, nor were they cold.

They were lit bright with the glow of love and they were warmed snugly by the very heat of the human heart.

Parents, undistracted by the lust for luxury and status, accorded their children primacy in their lives.

He went on to say… I would therefore like to propose tonight that we install in every home a Children’s Universal Bill of Rights, the tenets of which are:

1. The right to be loved without having to earn it

2. The right to be protected, without having to deserve it

3. The right to feel valuable, even if you came into the world with nothing

4. The right to be listened to without having to be interesting

5. The right to be read a bedtime story, without having to compete with the evening news

6. The right to an education without having to dodge bullets at schools

7. The right to be thought of as adorable - (even if you have a face that only a mother could love).

(end of Quote)

When I read that it really deeply moved.

For as we all know that Michael Jackson spent all of his adult life trying to find the childhood he never had

How we bring our children up WILL determine to a great extent how they turn out

This morning Simon and Nicola have come here because they want to say that they intend to bring Georgina up in the Christian faith.

And so I would like to speak on three verses from the Old Testament this morning

1. Love your children

The first is Proverbs 13:24

”Those who love their children care enough to discipline them “

The Bible takes it for granted that we will love our children

But if we neglect to set them boundaries and children want fair discipline them when necessary, we fail with our love for them

The second is from Proverbs 3:1

2. A morally good upbringing

The first verse is:

“My son, do not forget my teaching,

But let your heart keep my commandments”

(Pr. 3:1)

TS Eliot wrote in Four Quartets:

“In my beginning is my end”

In other words, the input of parents into the early life of a child will generally determine the pattern of life for years to come.

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