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EDITORIAL: A future made by the hands of mum and dad

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: A future made by the hands of mum and dad

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So in the midst of all the jollification and the acts of giving, which are characteristic features of this Yuletide season, let us pause to reflect not only on the miracle that heralded the first Christmas, but also on the obligations throughout the year to which the Babe of Bethlehem summons every one of us. – Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in his Christmas Message yesterday.
As we focus on the miracle child, there is hardly a better time to think of the duties and responsibilities we have – or should have – to our earthly offspring. A child denied could be a future destroyed or, worse, greatness smothered.
The Prime Minister likens this attitude to that of the innkeeper in Bethlehem who, caring not enough for the pregnant Mary and more ruthlessly not for the child within her womb, turned them away into the shadowy alleys of the town. As the manger story is constantly told, the beasts were of more tender heart.
And as Mr Stuart indicates, despite the telling year after year, too many a parent misses the lesson therein.
“Even though we have no idea what kind of future awaits our children,” says he, “still too many of our parents approach the rearing of our children all too casually.”
And the Prime Minister raises the example of fathers refusing to “make that extra effort” to see to it that their seed is properly nourished and developed.
We stress that the child’s welfare rises above all other interests, and that his or her care and safety must be at the centre of all battles and negotiations. And none of us must have that hands-off attitude of the Bethlehem innkeeper.
Emotional abuse and child neglect can leave deep, long-lasting scars, and may even be worse than the physical. Much like how Mary and Joseph loved and nurtured Jesus, parents need to be there continually for their young ones, earning their confidence and respect.
If children can’t trust their parents, who can they trust? Abuse by a primary caregiver damages the most fundamental relationship as children – that they will safely, reliably get their physical and emotional needs met by the people responsible for their care. Without this, it is quite difficult for our children to learn to trust people or know who is trustworthy.
This invariably leads to unhealthy relationships, because when our offspring are all grown up, they don’t know what a good relationship is.
Argues he: “That child could easily be some great man or woman on whom the future is patiently waiting.”
For such, says he, have been “our heroes, our leaders, our great sportsmen [and sportswomen], our great musicians and entertainers, our great teachers and public servants, and great nurses and policemen [and policewomen].”
In short, the future lies in the hands of Mummy and Daddy. It is indeed a challenge to which the Christ Child expects them to rise.