I recently read an article about a 24 year old mother who was arrested for child endangerment after police found her unresponsive in the shower, and her two small children were left unattended, and it just turns my stomach. Apparently there had been two other adults in the home, but after they put the mother in the shower in a futile attempt to arouse her, they left. When police arrived, they found the older child crying for help to wake up his mom, and they found an uncapped syringe with clear liquid and a burnt spoon in the bathroom with her. The children were placed in the custody of their grandmother, and the older child was interviewed by Child Protective Services. He told them that “his mom gives herself shots all the time in the bathroom but he isn’t allowed to go in when she is giving the shots.”
These are the stories that just rip your heart apart! Those innocent children deserve so much better, and they don’t even know it! And where was the grandmother before this happened? These are the situations where I just don’t understand how the so-called “parent” got to be a parent. Why did God let that happen when there are so many safe, loving homes lacking, but longing for, the warmth and love of sweet babies. What on earth led that woman to believe her home, her lifestyle, would provide a loving environment for impressionable children? Does the father of the children know what they are going through? Does he even care? And how can he not?
I don’t want to judge, and obviously I don’t know all the facts and all the history. But man, with the facts I do know I just can’t help but feel sad and hurt for these kids. And for their mom too, I suppose. I mean, what must she be going through or have gone through in her life to have such a need for drugs that they are more important than the safety and welfare of her children? I wonder if she feels guilty for scaring them like she did. I wonder if she is afraid of the control the substances have over her that she is willing to make any and all sacrifices for them.
Stories like this remind me just how naive and sheltered I am, that I just can’t fathom a mom behaving in such a way. I hate to think that there are so many other kids facing such sad, lonely, and scary childhoods. But the reality is there are, and I know it. It’s so hard to think about because I can’t fix it. And that’s what I want to do, as a mom, as a compassionate human, is to fix it for them.
But really, each of us has an opportunity to help kids like this. We can be a mentor at our kids’ schools. Believe it or not there are kids there whose best time of the day is at school. That may be their only opportunity for close contact and interaction. That may be the only place they are getting fed. And that may be the only place someone cares about them. We can get to know the kids at our churches and community activities and help them see that there are loving caring adults, and there is someone they can turn to if they need a helping hand. Also, there are so many kids in the foster care system who have lived in dire situations, who have seen more in their short little lives than most of us can even fathom. And I know that foster parenting and adoption are not the right fit for every family, but we can all spread the word and make it more widespread so that kids who have been removed from a less than ideal situation have loving arms waiting and wanting to protect them.
Thinking of kids hurting, especially at the hands of their own parents, is gut wrenching and sad. It is one of life’s biggest tragedies, and a depressing reality. Take your kids in your arms and hug them to pieces. Thank God for them and the joy they bring into your home. And then teach them compassion for others, and help them understand that a little kindness can go a long way in the life of one who sees little good in the world.