Monday, April 20, 2009
Little lambs in a hostile world
Sometimes Mark and I take a walk down to the playground nearby to kick around his soccer ball, and I wonder about the little children I see so often unsupervised. It's as if their parents just want them out of the house, and by the way they behave, you can tell that they don't get much attention inside the house either. But they're out there, an open target for anyone who would want to take advantage of these young lives, sad to say.
On the other hand, you can always tell who the children are that are well loved and cared for. They have their moms hovering around like helicopters, watching every move, shouting encouragement and praises when they reach the top of the slide, and warning them to remember to play nice with the others. They bring a pack of juice, and wet wipes for their hands, and an extra sweater, and keep a first aid kit in the car. They may look overprotective, but reality demands that if you want to be a good parent these days, you protect.
And then there were the little girls who were playing alone, one about 8 watching over her little sister of about 5. The other moms were asking each other who they belonged to, and ended up having to help the girls tie a shoe and reach the water fountain for a drink. Where was their mother, and why did she think it was safe to let them wander through the neighborhood alone? Doesn't she watch the evening news? We watched them walk off in the direction of what we hoped was their home, hand in hand, dirty and the smallest one crying because she had fallen and hurt herself. Two little defenseless lambs, so vulnerable.
The age for having children to help tend the farm and let them run wild through the fields when work is done, has long gone. The dangers for children generations ago lay mostly in diseases, hunger and the strain of hard labor. Today our children face the danger of people who would willingly commit violence against them. Thankfully there are still many good hearted and honest people who wouldn't dare hurt a child. But who are they and where are they, is not so easy to answer.
For those who want to have children, your job as their protector is a serious one. You are bringing them into a hostile world and if you are not prepared to fight for their safety, it would be better for you not to have them at all. For those of you who do have children, you have precious lives entrusted to you. Take good care that they make it through their childhood with their innocence intact.