Our celebrations this weekend are duplicated over and over in families all over the nation and are a symbol of what is good in the world. Families are the building blocks of any society! And when families do well, the societies in which they live do well.
Now the bad news. Scenes like this weekend are much too uncommon. I’m not talking just about the birthday or the Christening celebrations. I’m talking about the scenes of families being together, of unconditional love and encouragement being demonstrated with honest emotion. As normal as it is to some of us, it is a story in a book to many others.
Our Juliette will have a good start in life. The rest will be mostly up to her and I pray she chooses well. Of course, she’ll be armed with encouragement, an education, support, and maybe even a little push if needed. This will not be the situation for many children. Something or someone will be missing. More often than not, the ‘someone’ missing is a father. More often than not, the ‘something’ missing is the right kind of attention.
Certainly, many children succeed who have grown up without one or both parents. They also can succeed without the guidance or support of their parents. But while these challenges can be an inspiration to some, it is an enormous burden for most of them to overcome—and many do not.
See two people running a race with everything equal except one is dragging a twenty-pound weight. The one dragging the weight can win, but he or she has to exert so much more energy. Even a win doesn’t tell the entire story. A single could have been a double, a double could have been a home run—if only they had the mentoring that would have made them better!
Sadly, the larger percentage of kids without a solid foundation at home will not overcome those burdens. It is not because they incapable, but only because they don’t know they are capable.
I have not told you anything you don’t already know. But hopefully I have brought it into your consciousness because there is something each of us can do to help a struggling child.
- If you are not a parent and don’t want to be, please don’t become one.
- If you are a parent, ask yourself serious questions about your relationship with your child.
- If you are a teacher or a police officer, be aware of a child’s situation at home and try to work with that information.
- If you are a neighbor, an aunt, uncle, or grandparent, do what you can to help a child who is missing a mentor.
- If you are a person who cares, join Big Brothers or Big Sisters, or be a mentor in any way you can. Even if it is just an encouraging word. I have found encouraging words to be invaluable!
If it takes a village to raise a child, so be it. Hopefully, it will be done for the benefit of all. But a village full of good families will not be required to take time away from their duties to do the work a parent is supposed to do. Be there for your children for you, for society, and mostly for them.