Saturday, August 16, 2008

Don't Click Away, Our Children Count On Us

Reading the news regularly as I do, many times I encounter stories that just make me ache as a parent, and I have a firm rule to have some tissue handy at all times. I don't include them all, because frankly, I can only take reporting so much when it comes to the victimization of children, and I don't think my readers want that either. The stories are plentiful and prurient, but my focus is to inform, and empower parents (myself included) through greater knowledge and awareness to meet the hurdles of child rearing, with a spirit equal to any Olympic athlete in Beijing. Rose colored my glasses are not, but neither do I look to include stories that approach parenting with something akin to exploitative tabloid zeal.

A hard story broke through today and had to be told. In the West, we like to think that we cherish and guard our children well as societies overall, although there is much evidence that erodes that assertion, and is the subject for another post altogether. However, reading about the act of heroism of a Senegalese father, who has stood against a deeply ingrained cultural practice that subjects young children to "necessary abuse," brings humility to our own efforts to be advocates for our children, as important as these causes are. After reading this story, I had to go and check on my sleeping son, and give thanks for God and Country, that my son doesn't know such conditions.

Stories such as these are hard to read, and write about, and can make one feel a sense of defeat because there is just so much, and getting through the day with your own children, in your own community and country can be so overwhelming as well. But, I don't want to shy away; it's important to look and to know, and when one can, to act. This is a key motivator to my continuing to write about so-called "hard news" in a parenting blog, when the research suggests that hard news doesn't play to this particular demographic. I have to believe that as mothers we care about more than how to fix our hair, and reclaim our post baby bodies. Can we really be so narrow as the marketers suggest that our concern for children of other nations extends to which nation Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will adopt from next?

I pray that this is not the case, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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