Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Re: Eddie Long or any one else accused, we must educate, support and love the children.
There is so much talk going on these days regarding the Bishop Eddie Long situation. Everywhere I turn on the news, twitter, facebook and private conversations, his alleged indiscretions are coming up. It seems that people are split right down the line on what he is accused of. They are either believers of his allegations and wish him to be banned from the church or they are playing the devils advocate and acknowledging his alleged wrong doing but emphasizing forgiveness.
My stand point? I'm rather neutral, by nature I am a peace maker. I have been told that I have the ability to stand in the middle of a situation and see clearly both sides. In this case I can't say that I can see both sides ( I tend to only see one side in this case), I think I will just wait for the evidence to be presented in court. The truth will come out then. However, I do have an opinion regarding children and people of position or authority over them.
I feel that parents have got to do a better job of educating their children. Especially since many parents are leaving their children in the care of others i.e. daycare, babysitters, heck even other family members! Often times too, they are encouraged to spend time with fellow worshipers and spiritual leaders (as in the case of Eddie Long's spiritual sons). Of course our children cannot be under us 24/7 but for goodness sakes please teach them how to recognize the signs of a sexual predator!
It is a known fact that the sick minded individuals that are molesting and manipulating children look for certain types. These men and women look for the fatherless, low self esteem, angry, quiet and needy children. Through no fault of their own, they become victims. As parents, guardians, mentors of these children we must teach them to think higher of themselves. To know that it does not matter what a person offers them, they cannot and should not be bought in exchange for inappropriate behaviours. My heart went out to the young man Jamal Parris, when he said that "he loved the Bishop as a father. How he wanted so much to be loved by this person that he was willing to do the things he never thought he would". To know that he and others have been allegedly taken advantage of because of their desperate need for love is what makes me so sad. We must do our best to teach the babies that their love should never have to be bought, and to receive it should never have to hurt.
Often times children and teens will hold in their "secrets" of sexual misconduct because they feel that it will not be believed. We need to do better jobs at reassuring them that they will be believed and that we will have their backs when they come to us. This is not a conversation to be had one or two times. NO! It needs to be had over and over again , because children forget and need constant reassurance. Just like we cannot tell a child that we love them one time and expect them to know and feel it, we cannot have this discussion on sexual misbehavior one time and expect them to follow our advice and come to us immediately if it happens.
I'm not sure who these young men had in their lives, but it bothers me that no one could see the signs of this alleged situation. Are we as parents really seeing our children? Are we also being naive when it comes to various people that we put our children in contact with? When it comes to our children we can never be too safe otherwise we may wind up being sorry. WE must watch, listen and learn our children. To gain their confidence we must look for ways to show them that they can turn to us at any time they feel uncomfortable. The quicker they expose the predator for who and what they are,the less pain & suffering they have to deal with.
The scars that sexual abuse leave are never erased. They may not always be on the surface but underneath the superficial layers it finds ways to remind each victim of it's presence deep inside. As the young man in the interview said, "I will always remember the smell of his cologne, I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head, I cannot forget the way he made me cry and the many showers I took to wipe the smell from my body"...that my friends is a tortured soul.
I know every child cannot be protected at all times and I am certainly not saying that I have always made the wisest parental decisions. However, this situation has definitely opened my eyes and caused me to see my job as a protector of my children and those around me even clearer.
Remember to talk, encourage, and build up your children. THEN REPEAT. It may save them a lot of heartache in the end.