Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Save The Children

One of the most difficult and demanding tasks in the world is being a good parent. There's such a fine line between being too strict and too lenient, that I sometimes find myself scratching my head and trying to recollect how other parents handle similar situations: What would MY parents have done? How would Claire & Cliff Huxtable handle this one? Would James & Florida Evans do it like this? As our children are raised in an evergrowing society filled with sex, violence and rampant greed & corruption..I shake my head and worry for them.

The images they see on television, the songs they hear on the radio, the pop-ups that come up on the internet...parental discretion is definitely advised. We strive to reach the point where we teach them to recognize right from wrong, and hopefully make good decisions, but nothing is guaranteed. Everyday you can pick up a newspaper or catch the TV news and see horrible stories of innocent children being the victims of cruel intent. For example, yesterday in suburban Charleston, West Virginia, a woman was shopping in a Target store with her 11 year old daughter. As most children do, the girl wandered away from her mother to browse through the toy department. Store survelliance cameras recorded a 30-something man following and observing the girl. He then approached her, told her that he was a security guard and that he observed her stealing in the toy department. He proceeded to take her out to the garden area and sexually assault her. As customers were steadily coming into and out of the area, he led the girl to another area of the store and sexually assaulted her again. All of this happened during the daytime, in a public store full of customers and employees.

Just the thought of how many times I've been in a store with my kids, and how many times I've let them venture away from my direct view and protection, made me shudder. The world is full of ravenous wolves, chomping at the bit waiting for the opportunity to take advantage of the meek and innocent. The Texan in me makes me want to load up all my guns and keep them handy in case I have to go vigilante on one of these despicable predators. The Christian in me makes me want to get down on my knees and pray for the girl and her family, as well as for her attacker, because vengeance is the Lord's.

The main thing I try to focus on now is loving my kids and teaching them the way in which they should go. Sometimes this love is expressed with a belt..sometimes this love is expressed with a hug. All I know is that its my job to prepare them for this world. To teach them how to be wary and cognizant of their surroundings. To teach them to never be afraid to speak up for themselves and call out for help if they need it It's a helpless feeling to know that there will be times when your child will need help and you won't be able to render aid & assistance. Some people go straight paranoid and isolate themselves and/or their children from the rest of the world. To me, living in constant fear of what might happen is more akin to waiting to die. Instead, I teach my kids that no matter what they do, I will always love them. And no matter what happens, I want them to do what they have to do to make it home alive.

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