Friday, January 14, 2011
Children: The Litter of Our Landscape
We are all shocked and saddened by the Tuscon shootings, and, in particular, the murder of 9 year old Christina Green. The shooting of a child exponentially heightens our outrage while intensifying our grief. I understand our collective sadness; I don't know that we should be surprised, however, because it seems that in our society children are steadily coming to be viewed as dispensable. Here’s why I am arriving at that conclusion:
**Our culture is all about ME. Self-actualization. Empowerment. Self-fulfillment. Individual autonomy. Personal development. blah, blah, blah. We seem to be moving in a direction where children are often viewed as an interference, an obstruction to MY goals, MY aspirations, MY pursuits. I confess that when I was a young father there were times when I resented the necessity of attending to the needs of our children because it interfered with my own preferences and desires. What comprised isolated incidents for some of us now appears to becoming a pattern for many in today's cultural climate. If it's all about ME, then all others--including children-- become dispensable.
**I understand these are uniquely different and difficult economic times which necessitate agonizing decisions to be made by parents. Two incomes are essential for many families if they are to survive. But--there seems to be a growing nonchalance, an indifference on the part of many other parents as to handing off their children to daycare or some other provider of care and abdicating their own personal responsibility to their children. I get the sense that many don't want to sacrifice their comfortable lifestyle and their "toys," and in order to sustain that lifestyle they let someone else, in essence, raise and nurture their children. "You take care of them during the day and we will tuck them in at night. Well, one of us will. . . depending on who loses the argument." Children are becoming an interference in our dogged pursuit of the American dream.
**Rather than children being protected in war, they are being utilized as a means of waging war. Explosives are strapped to children and then these innocents are told to run into the camp of the enemy. Children are blown up as a means of blowing up more of the enemy. Children are also being used as shields to hide behind. Apparently titanium and Kevlar have become too expensive. Let's throw a dispensable child in front of us, instead.
**I know that abortion is a complex issue with layers of moral and ethical ramifications. I also understand that, at times, there are either life-threatening issues at stake or excruciating circumstances involved. That being said, my impression is that for a number of couples an unexpected pregnancy and the possibility of a child entering their world would be a great inconvenience to their lifestyle and comfort zone. The solution to the problem is to eliminate the child rather than curtail the lifestyle. We can argue as to whether or not the fetus is a child; we can all agree that eventually, if the fetus is allowed to develop, a child will be born. In those situations I’m alluding to, we are not merely aborting a fetus. It’s not the 9 months gestation of the fetus we don’t want to hassle with. It’s the decades of raising and nurturing a child that we don’t want to mess with. I fear that children are coming to be viewed as a mere interference by some and that interference can be surgically discarded and now that couple can move on with their lives unencumbered.
I fear for us collectively as a civilization. How a society regards its children speaks volumes about the likely moral future of that culture.
I also fear for you and me, individually. And so should you. What if our children someday return the favor and regard us as dispensable?