Good Morning, God!
Times have changed — but not enough, God. I did spank my children. Sandy has not spanked her boys. And I still remember the time years ago when Ian had popped off and hit Mark. Having seen this happen before, and being of the old school, I said to Mark, “I wonder when someone is going to hit Ian back?” Mark said, “I’ve wondered that, too, Tutu.” Now, of course, Ian is over 6 feet and over 200 pounds. And I am very thankful for the culture of non-violence in their home.
Alas, a BBC news story estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 children four and under are killed here in the United Sates each year — by a member of the family. The child abuse rate is 3 times higher in the United States than in Canada and 11 times higher than in Italy. Cultures matter.
Just a few months ago I heard a marvelous speaker tell about how often his mother beat him. He admitted that he used to tell some of his worst experiences as “funny stories.” He had come a long way in being willing to feel how damaging those beatings really were. Yet, later in his talk he held up his fists and said: “In Texas we like to talk with our hands!”
Cultures of violence are resistant to change. And, so is the idea that a “Man’s Home is His Castle.” Both of these make it difficult to know just how to address this horrible crime of child abuse. And, in fact, we mostly don’t address it — except when a case makes the news when we blame the parents, drugs, and the child welfare officers. I am not saying they are without blame. But, blaming doesn’t help.
I remember a dear friend setting up program of “respite care” at our church — years ago. It seems the police had suggested the idea. Social programs do help. But, they do cost. We need help, God!