The other day, a coworker, knowing that my kids do not watch scary or violent films and that we eschew excessive competitiveness, said I was raising marshmallows. While I disagree with him for a number of reasons, he is correct in that I am doing my best to raise kids who don’t find violence amusing or acceptable. That’s why, when I came across an article about the recent gang rape of a 15-year-old Richmond, California girl, I found it especially interesting.
A woman writing at Moveovermommy.com, who also happens to be a lawyer working with children from broken or troubled homes, offered some insight into the sorts of kids who could watch such an atrocity, let alone participate. She says that these are “boys and girls whose have faced so much turmoil in their short lives, have seen so much ugliness in their family and neighborhoods and have received so little support that their sense of humanity (to the extent it ever existed) left them long ago.”
That actually makes a lot of sense. While I still don’t think I’m going to let my kids watch scary or violent movies or play violent video games, I am going to make sure they know they are well loved and fully supported in everything they do. In the big picture, however, as Moveovermommy writes, the real issue is “something far more primal about what is missing for these and other children in our communities — a steady loving presence in their lives that provides security, stability and time and space to believe in a better way.” As a society, I think we need to concentrate more on making sure that all kids have a loving and stable home as they figure out how to get along in this world and, yes, how to be human.
I have to offer my thanks to this woman and the many others who work with these kids and take them in and help make incidents like the one in Richmond a rare occurrence.