I sang this song in Sunday School as a kid. It still stirs up the fondest memories of learning about God — about His goodness, strength, faithfulness and promises. I learned it then the same way I sing it here, using old sounding words — “doth” instead of “does”, etc. Do the old words make this song too out of date to still be useful? Please give it a sing-along listen, and come back. I’d like to offer reasons why the old language makes this song especially valuable to pass along to our kids.
How cool is modern?
It seems to come as a surprise to many young people that the world did not begin the day they were born. Especially among the young can we find the attitude that modern thinking is cool — but almost anything produced earlier must be dull and unsophisticated. What a handicap to live with such blinders!
Much of the best and wisest information available to us is contained in works written by people who left this life a long time ago. Tom Lehrer, writer/singer of political satire songs popular in the 1960’s commented, “It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age he had been dead for three years.” (For more from Mr. Lehrer, here is a video he did on “the new math” — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIKGV2cTgqA .)
Explaining our song’s old language provides parents and teachers a fine opportunity to help kids discover keys to unlock rich literature of the past. I’ve heard it argued that studying grammar (and vocabulary) is a pointless waste of time. Why? Answer given, “Learning grammar does not teach a person how to speak better.” Maybe that’s true, but that misses the point.
Rules of grammar give us access to the literature of the past. Rules of grammar — and, for that matter, every word in any dictionary — cannot predict what we will do going forward. No, but their great contribution is that they can tell us how language worked in literature of the past. These resources enable us to unlock and understand the greatest literature already in print — for example, the Bible.
Be a warm part of their memories
I am a witness that this is a good song to teach a child. I know it is because the song still works for me after all these years and miles. Not only do the lyrics and melody stir up happy memories of early days learning about the Lord — they also remind me of the people who taught me such songs and their meanings. The odd old language actually makes the memories of those people and places more vivid to me. Wouldn’t you like to appear in warm memories bubbling up years from now in people you touch today as they recall a song or a lesson learned because of you?
If old worn-out blue jeans can be worth big dollars to today’s youth, maybe this song, with its old language has a chance, too. Our song has old baked in — along with truth that is timeless. In a number of ways, songs like this can expand in a person’s mind over the years, compounding interest to the treasure of the person’s learning. Let’s bring gems like this to kids — of all ages.
Knowing that we are children of the Heavenly Father
Our song’s melody is simple and lovely. The lyrics are bold and firm. As with other songs such as “It Is Well With My Soul” and “Just As I Am”, this song was written by someone who suffered painful loss and was faced with the choice either of being mad at God or drawing closer to Him for healing.
This song gives children — and their teachers — a way to gently touch and consider big issues such as tragic loss — and life and death — and to learn through it all of God’s care, attention, power, love and provision. The song sets the stage for a life-long relationship with God framed in respect, trust and gratitude.
At what age might a person begin building such a relationship? Here is a song that can help young children lay a foundation that can be built on for a lifetime. Let’s bring such songs to them — and sing along with them.
God bless you lots,
LYRICS: Children Of The Heavenly Father
Text: Carolina Sandell  – Translator: Ernst W. Olson;
Tune: Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara (traditional Swedish melody)
1 Children of the Heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather.
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.
2 God His own doth tend and nourish,
In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things He spares them,
In His mighty arms He bears them.
3 Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever.
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.
4 Though he giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh.
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them safe and holy.
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