Children must be nurtured, not tortured

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children. Psalms 103:17

An article published in a daily newspaper of March 31st (The Daily Nation) entitled “Teens running from abuse” really brought home the sad reality many juveniles face today.

It quoted Mr. Erwin Leacock, principal of the Government Industrial School – a school for delinquent children – as saying that people were quick to judge children when they ran away from home but that “in most instances, they are running from something and not running to something”.

He called it Barbados’ “dirty little secret” which needed to be exposed. Expose what exactly? Abuse!… of all kinds.

What he said reminded of a senior official within the Child Care Board – an entity which responds to child abuse in Barbados – who facilitated a Family Life Counseling course I attended. He recounted how one teenager was brought in for counseling because of aggressive behaviour and sexual misconduct at school. With enough digging into her family life, it was revealed that her father repeatedly forced her to watch him engage in sexual intercourse with his partner. “Come, watch and learn” was his charge to her.

Many children, we are also told, having conditions like ADHD or dyslexia that are misdiagnosed, do not get the help they require to overcome challenges they may encounter in mainstream environments. Instead, they are punished for behaviours they can’t necessarily control.  Wherever did we get the idea that beating a child who could not read would suddenly cause them to be able to? Instead, that child eventually develops anti-social behaviours which see them becoming an introvert or an aggressor.

Such stories cause anger to rise up within many of us. But after the initial buzz, what? The Bible points to the family as the first institution created by God. It was meant to be a nurturing environment for children to grow and become image-bearers of our Heavenly Creator. Sin has caused fissures to appear. Parents have vacated their roles as stipulated in the Word of God. Everyone and every fad now have a hand at raising our children. The result?  Large cracks in our society that we want to blame on those said children.

Lord, help us to return to Your principles for godly families so that our children are raised within the confines of safe and structured environments, then sent out as whole, God-fearing individuals into the world.

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