Perhaps the first person you meet when you start at school is the Lollipop man or woman. They are on duty to safely shepherd the little children across the busy and dangerous road outside the school. They are brightly dressed in a day-glo coat and peaked cap, and carry a big sign on a pole, at the sight of which all traffic must stop, by law. I live straight across the road from a primary school, and see them at work every day. They seem to love their job.
It doesn’t pay well, and is usually performed by retired people who want to do good and worthy, but lowly work. Whenever you see a lollipop person, you know a school is nearby. In the eyes of pre-schoolers, they are more memorable than the dowdy old school beyond that employs them, and in their minds act like advertisements for the place.
The Church is like a school which takes in children from any age and educates them in spiritual perfection to as high a level as they want to go-hopefully to the top. It too is situated right next to a dangerous and busy road, which we call “the world”, and which has been the death of many unwary and unsupervised children who try to cross without help.
The Church needs lollipop people on permanent duty outside its many entrances to safely ferry their charges onto the Church threshold, where then the proper staff can take over.
The only qualifications are a welcoming demeanour, a kindly manner and the desire to die rather than let even one child come to harm. A good knowledge of the road, being streetwise and having lots of common sense are essential too.
Since writing this piece, I have heard about a terrible accident in south Wales where a car lost control and ploughed into a lollipop woman and several children, seriously injuring the woman and some of the children. She did all she could to protect them. The full story is here. Please pray for their recovery
In researching, I discovered that accidents involving lollipop people and their child charges are frighteningly common, and often fatal.