Summary: Leaving no child behind means that we parents set aside our own pleasures, that we learn to advocate for our children, and that we cross cultures with our resources.
It was every parent’s worst nightmare. My son, my own flesh and blood, standing in front of me, and announcing that he was taking lessons in ... skydiving!
Skydiving! That’s where people walk out of airplanes and float downward to earth, supported by a thin sheet of cloth and a few little strings! Skydiving!
You can imagine all the stuff that came out of my mouth. Are you crazy? Why? Are you my son? Where in the world did you get such an idea? Certainly not from me, certainly not from a father who, when flying in a jumbo jet, shuts his eyes, grips the seat, and breathes a fervent prayer!
But there he was, in my face, telling me he had already paid for the lessons, and skydiving was what he wanted, skydiving was what it would be. Now I’ll say this much for him; he did work hard to assure me that there were plenty of backup systems. First, he said, he was taking lessons. He would be well trained before he ever stepped out of an open door. And then, even if the training should fail, even if he should become confused, and fail to pull the ripcord on time, there was an automatic ripcord system. And if that system should fail to work, there was still another backup system. Backups, and backups to the backups. Safety nets. Not to worry, Dad. Somebody has provided a safety net for your son. Somebody has thought of the danger and has provided.
Well, I never fully reconciled myself to this skydiving thing. It still seems crazy to me. But he did it, and lived to tell the tale. And so did I, because somebody was alert to the danger; somebody provided backup systems for my child.
Today you and I can praise God that we live in a world where, although there a lot of dangers for our children, God has provided backup systems. God has provided safety systems for children at risk. We just have to take lessons in how to use them. We just have to trust that God knew what He was doing in providing these backups.
The child Moses was born into a world of tremendous danger. This child was born into a setting which did not value him. All the things were there that the statisticians tell us will doom a child like Moses. Let me list them for you. He was of the wrong race; he was a Hebrew in a world dominated by Egyptians. He was of the wrong sex; we keep saying that this is a man’s world, but, on this Mother’s Day, I guess we all know who the strong ones are, don’t we, and I guess we all see who is at risk out there.
He was of the wrong race, he was of the wrong sex, and he was born at the wrong time, that is, born when the government was dead set against him; and he was born into the wrong kind of family. Nowhere in this text is Moses’ father mentioned, except as a man of the house of Levi who married a Levite woman and gave her a son. But throughout the whole story, Moses’ father isn’t even named. He is an absentee father, maybe? Or just out of it, just too weak to matter? We don’t know. But he doesn’t figure in this story at all.
So now, come on, tell me, what are Moses’ chance of survival? What odds will you lay that Moses will make it, even to his first birthday, much less to a full and productive adulthood? Wrong race, wrong sex, wrong time, wrong family. What are Moses’ chances? Somewhere between slim and none. Somewhere between nothing and nada. Somewhere halfway between zip and zilch!
But God! But God! Our God has always known that children were born into a world of danger, and our God has provided backups, safety nets. Our God has always known that children were at risk, and so our God has given us ripcords, backup systems. We just have to take lessons in what they are and in how to use them, so that, as the Children’s Defense Fund puts it, we may "leave no child behind."
God gave Moses as his backup systems three women and a basket. Three women and a basket.
The first woman was Moses’ own mother. Moses’ mother faced a grim and terrible choice. Her choice was either to become a victim of the system and let it destroy her child; or else to give up what every mother wants. Either she could let them take her child, or she could relinquish the joy of seeing her child grow up and bless her. That’s a tough choice, isn’t it? Moses mother could either throw up her hands in despair, and let Pharaoh’s baby-killers destroy the fruit of her womb, which would mean pain and anger for now, but she might get over it. Or she could choose to set aside her need to feel good, she could choose to give up all the strokes and joys of now, and save her child.