Protecting our children starts with knowing who they hang around

How much do you know about the people who influence your children? What do you know about their teachers?  Who are their friends?  What does their little league coach do for a living?  Are these people of faith?  What faith?  Most important, are they people of good character?

A hundred years ago, you would be able to answer all of these questions.  If you didn’t know the person, or if you didn’t know someone who would vouch for the person, you would not let your child go near him or her unaccompanied.  All that has changed.

Today, most of us don’t know the answer to any of these questions.  Therein lies one of our biggest problems.  It matters who has direct interaction with, and influence over, your children.  These are the people who can lead your children in the right direction, or the wrong direction.  These are the people who can exploit and abuse them, who can fill their minds with false and evil ideas.  These are the people who can crush their spirit.  Or they could become mentors and role models who could inspire them to great achievement.

Obviously not every stranger is bad.  Most aren’t.  But not every stranger is a saint, either.  It’s a coin toss.  If you don’t know the people involved in your children’s lives you are gambling with their safety.  Even if they’re not in physical danger, they are in constant danger from the exposure to ideas that are anathema to the values you want to instill in them.  Even if someone claims he is a Christian, he could still hold values that are contrary to traditional Christian principles.  We must know the people who influence our children, if for no other reason than to provide a counterpoint to the beliefs that might be rubbing off onto your sons or daughters.

A story recently came to my attention about a child who last month took candy canes to share with his West Covina, CA school classmates before the Christmas break.  Attached to each candy cane was a Christmas message.  When the teacher saw the message, she confiscated the candy and consulted the principal.  Reportedly the principal agreed that the message could not be distributed with the candy.  The teacher then tore off the messages and threw them away.  Only then did she allow the child to distribute the candy canes.  The article is available here.

The child’s parents, with the help of a nonprofit law firm, are taking legal action against the school.  I think the parents will win.  The school would have been on more solid ground if they had prohibited the candy, and let the message be distributed.  But that’s beside the point.  Why didn’t the parents know this would be the reaction of the teacher and the principal?  Why didn’t they know that these educators would be hostile to a Christian message being distributed with a small personal gift?  The simple answer is they did not take the time to get to know either one of them.  How can parents possibly exercise their responsibility to protect children if they know so little about the people who are deeply involved in their lives?  It’s not just the parents of the kid with the candy canes.  It’s all of us.

We choose to trust other, nameless, people to ensure our children’s safety.  The alternative is too much of a hassle, or too awkward, or we think we have better things to do with our time. 

It’s no wonder that Miramonte Elementary School teacher, Mark Berndt, was able to get away with sexually abusing children in his Los Angeles classroom for more than two decades.  And it’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of other teachers, coaches, church workers, child care volunteers, neighbors, pastors, priests and pop stars are getting away with it right now. 

Get to know—really know—the people who influence your children. 

3 thoughts on “Protecting our children starts with knowing who they hang around

  1. You cannot always know especially if they go to school and are invited to a birthday party and or sleepover. I know of parents who went to their grave never knowing their son was sodomized in Catholic school in fourth grade by a sixth grade boy who most likely was himself a victim. Other parents whose nine yr old daughter was abused by another student of the same age at a sleepover in which other classmates observed. They were also students in a Catholic school. The abuser in that case definitely was abused sexually and emotionally by her mother and step father.
    Most often abuse begets abuse when the child is pre or early post pubescent and if it does not dealt with by competent therapists in a timely fashion.
    This is something the Prelates in the Church need clarification on, especially those who shuffled and muffled their brother homosexual pederasts.
    Pope Francis recently called for compassion towards the children of homosexual parents citing one child who told her teacher that her mother’s girlfriend did not love her.
    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-calls-fresh-church-approach-children-gay-parents-192102096.html

    How many victims of clerical abuse are convinced now the Catholic Church has no love for them?
    http://rapevictimsofthecatholicchurch.wordpress.com/category/diocese-of-pittsburgh/
    In these files i read one woman from NJ complained about Bishop Wuerl to a Cardinal in the Vatican who replied he could do nothing. The woman died suddenly at age 42 .
    Pope Francis has recently made the same, now Cardinal Wuerl , in charge of a commitee to appoint Bishops.From the documentation provided on the Cardinal on the above site ,I am dumbfounded!

    Isn’t it the Pope’s job to teach God’s Truth and call his Bishops to act accordingly?
    We knew when we read that speech, linked at the top of this comment ,that priests would misconstrue his words to pervert Scripture and Doctrine.
    Why would the Pope dare to consider that these poorly trained men would even have a clue as to how to help these children or even know how to show them real compassion?
    http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/

    1. Parents have to make it a point to know the people in their child’s life. More than 30%, and as high as 70%, of children who are sexually abused as a child, are abused by other children. And just because a person has a title, even the title of priest, it doesn’t mean parents should trust them with the care and safety of their child.

  2. The Pope should rethink the impact of his published statements .The Catholic genre is already welcoming same sex adoption. They have done the same with pornography in the home . As a former Parochial elementary school nurse I heard plenty of accounts of parents who did not care if their children viewed these tapes in their homes.
    Planting seeds of sexual perversion is one form of child sexual abuse viewed and used by pedophiles and amoral parents alike.
    Instead of preaching about compassion for the children of same sex parents how about some preaching on morality?
    The Pope once stated that every Catholic knows Church Doctrine. Well they don’t.
    What every Christian knows about is Christ’s compassion for sinners .But just what the sin is seems to be missing in action from the pulpits along with the real world implcations and collateral damage of the wages of sin ,not to mention the Doctrine of eternal damnation.
    We are over saturated with the focus on social justice related to the ecnomy since one would have to be in total isolation not to recognize the financial and political corruption all around us.
    It is the silence of the Churches concerning the victims of clerical abuse that is deafening by comparison.

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