No matter your life situation, maybe the proper answer is none. You don’t really “have” children. And they’re not “yours.”
For one thing, they’re God’s children, not yours. For another thing, you don’t “have” them so much as you host them for the first couple of decades of their lives – or much longer, in some Western European countries.
If more people understood that – that children don’t belong to us – we’d have a lot fewer abused, neglected and deceased children on our hands.
Consider the case of Elizabeth Escalona of Dallas, Texas – who has been shipped off to prison for 99 years because she thought “having” a child gave her the authority to beat a poor little 2-year-old and glue her tiny hands to the wall in order to explain the finer points of going to the bathroom. Yes. You can find that tip in most potty training books. Not.
The little girl “suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, multiple bruises and bite marks, and was in a coma for a couple of days,” according to the Associated Press. “You savagely beat your child to the edge of death,” the judge told her.
Well, for his part, Roger Anthony Williams didn’t stop at the edge. He perpetrated one of the most sickening cases of child abuse you’ll ever hear about, right in Moncks Corner, S.C., in June 2010. Mr. Williams abused his 2-year-old son Rodricus Williams over time until the boy died, apparently from a blow to the head. Williams then wiped the boy’s body with peroxide to remove finger prints, wrapped it in trash bags and encased it in a barrel of cement.
He was dutifully and expeditiously convicted Thursday and sentenced to life in prison.
When you think you “have” children, and therefore seek to control them as opposed to guide and nurture them, then one supposes you can rationalize tactics that, if used on terror suspects, would be considered torture.
Have you ever known anyone who was literally tortured as a child? We have. And we can tell you that the damage is bottomless and lifelong.
Let’s be clear about this: No one – not a parent, not a legal guardian, not a concentration camp guard – has the right to abuse or torture another human being, regardless of that person’s youth or diminutive size.
Children are born into a world of giants who are, by mere virtue of our size, intimidating enough. We needn’t raise our hands to our little friends or in any other way torment them.
Especially since they’re not ours to begin with.
We encourage you to enlist in the effort to protect children however you can. In the Central Savannah River Area, Child Enrichment Inc. helps abandoned, abused, neglected and sexually abused children. Contact Child Enrichment at (706) 737-4631, www.childenrichment.org.