Governmental Parenting

I rummaged around on Yahoo! and Google a bit, and found a cache of this post. I will also include a few of the comments (8 of 21) after the post itself.

In order to properly understand the context of this post, you will need to read this post on Scholl’s blog, and the following comments. I wrote this originally as a comment for that blog post, but when I saw how long it was, I felt it would be better treated over here.

I believe that children should be protected, even ‘pre-emptively’ even if that protection must be from their parents. The Government, however, has no place in that protection. The Bible tells us as Christians to care for widows and orphans, and I would suggest that unfortunates such as the children of mentally unstable individuals could/should be considered such for the purposes of our care. That said, we as Christians do indeed lack the legal capacity to exert such care in many situations, since, as Ziggy pointed out, taking another’s child is kidnapping, even in our legal system.

The issue at hand is indeed something like what ryoga mentioned: we can’t stop bad parents from happening. The murder of Ronnie Paris Jr’s son would never have happened if Ronnie Paris Jr. never had a son. In a world where everyone was accountable to each other, that might not be so hard to prevent. In that world, too, in the unfortunate eventuality that such prevention failed, classification and care as an orphan for such children would not be a difficult concept. In that statement, we see the root of our problems: ‘‘where everyone was accountable’‘ Our world has distanced itself and all of its constituents from accountability in a very effective manner. Not only is nothing ‘your fault’ (poor Ronnie, he has a mental disorder. He didn’t want to kill his son, he just couldn’t help himself!), but anything that MIGHT be your fault somehow falls to the Government to amend, whereas Governments should in fact have little to no intervention on such levels, ever. The idea of Government as a protector of liberty has been twisted into the Government taking blame for us, and making laws in vain attempts to inhibit stupidity.

This is the reason that Ziggy’s position seems so far fetched to so many people. ‘What? How could the Government NOT save the children of the inept? How could it be so careless?’ The answer obvious in Ziggy’s (and my) mind is that the Government has NO PLACE in such situations, ever. Any place that they do have there should be removed. God never intended for an impersonal entity to ‘care’ for the unfortunate. God never intended for the Government to feed, clothe, and protect us. THAT’S OUR JOB. God DID intend for his people to care for their own, and for their neighbors. It is this example that we see repeated throughout both testaments. If I notice that my neighbor’s child is not being cared for, I should confront my neighbor about it. And if he does nothing, I should take that child in as my own and care for it myself. That doesn’t work anymore. The Government is too entwined in the minutia of private life for good people like Ziggy to even suggest that things should be different without being mocked and challenged by the intellectual elite, even other Christians.

Do I think it realistic to expect a return to the people caring for each other, as God intended? Certainly not. That will never happen; such is the extent of Satan’s victory over our society. Does that mean I can condone Government taking a role in raising children? Certainly not. Just because things are a certain way does not mean they are right. Just because such is inevitable does not mean I have to let it come with no resistance. Our system of government is itself a willing and useful tool for Satan to strike at the people of our world, and as I experience more of it, I am only more convinced of the evil that a once-great ideal has become. No, Ziggy is right. The Government has no place in our families, or in the lives of our children. Governments are for military protection and legal mediation; not parenting.

This begs the question, though, ‘what SHOULD we do in today’s society?’ I don’t know. I do know that we should try to affect those that we can, those that we do exert influence over, towards the right thing, and try to do the right thing ourselves. I am forced to forfeit the battle for our country and our society as a whole, but it is my hope that when it falls, for fall it will, there will be those left who think like Ziggy to start things over.

Comment by MomToad

Let me pose a couple of scenarios for your thoughts.

I am a school bus driver. I drive in very diverse economical neighborhoods on the same route. On my elementary route I stop at a trailer park, with all the features that name conjures up. I have had two particular encounters which I will now share in hopes of hearing your input.

Situation 1:
A little girl on my bus displays continually disruptive, savage, and sexual behavior. This girl is 8 years old. She is obviously acting out things that are happening to her in her home invironment. After trying to work with her through all the avenues available to me (which aren’t much) I write her up on a safety violation. One of the boys on the bus waits at the school to speak with me. He asks me to ‘go easy on her, because she has ‘issues’ at home’. Other boys comment on her kissing everyone and showing her body to all the boys. By law I am required to pass this information along to my boss who then passes it to the authorities. CPS is called and upon investigation it is shown that this little 8 year old girl has been abused by her father and has offered herself to other boys in the park being very aggressive in doing so. The final outcome for her???? She was placed in an alternative school but left in her home!!! This I don’t understand. I do not know if her father was removed or not but from what her little brother says, he has not been.

Situation 2:

Another little girl, 7 years old. This little girl is sweet and compliant and so loving. She always hugs me in the morning and brings me flowers. She gives me her pictures that she draws in class because her ‘aunt’ just throws them away. She comes to school in filthy clothes. Clothes that have been worn all week, that reek with body odor, cigarrette smoke, and various other smells. There are times when no one will sit by her. Her hair is dirty, her skin is dirty. She and her brother live with their aunt and uncle. Their trailer is 10 feet from the bus stop and yet she has gone to court for missing too much school. I am not the only one to notice this. She has teachers. She has been to court. She is tiny and underweight. I can understand poverty, but a bar of ivory soap is less than 50 cents. Clothes can be washed in the bathtub. I frequently have to hold the bus on a busy street while she comes running to the bus barefoot with shoes in hand, even though the bus arrives at the same time every day.

What can/should be done for this child, these children. These are only 2 of many more similar stories.

I am limited by law in my interaction with them, but in the time I have with them I try to listen, care, and show them some love they may never see otherwise. When my church had Vacation Bible school, I was not allowed to pass out information but I told them all about it.

I know that I cannot save all of these children or maybe not any of them. All I can do is offer them a safe, comfortable place to be when they are within my control.

I am interested in your opinions of how these children should be handled. Would I love to go in and take them all home with me and make their lives better?? No doubt, but that is neither economically feasible nor legal. The church I attend is very active in their care of the local poor but even they are limited in their actions.

For now I will continue to love them and do what I can.

Comment by MomToad

Another thing of note.

As a district employee, I was just subjected to 3 days of meetings on poverty. There we were clearly informed that children in poverty need to abandon their familial relationships for educational relationships in order to actually be able to succeed in climbing out of poverty.

Does that sound like ‘Hand your children over to us’ to anyone else????


Comment by Toad

As I said, I’m all in favor of protecting the children. Also, though, I am at a loss to determine how they should be cared for. The only option that comes to my mind as a ‘good’ one is to sue for custody of the child, either as myself or as an organization, probably run within a good local church. Issue at hand, while it afflicts the children, is the parents, and the parents are the ones who must be held responsible for the torment of their children. Essentially, I suppose, I would advocate a privately owned and operated foster-care provider, which sues for custody of malcared children (thereby using the government for what it is meant for, legal mediation, not parenting) and takes them in to foster homes or a similar situation, where they can be raised by good parents.

I’m not completely sure if that’s legal in our system, and if it is, I am confident that such an organization would lose most of its cases at this point, largely because ‘that’s the CPS’s job’. Also, that organization would need financial backing for its legal endeavours, which would be hard to come by. Something like that, though, would definitely be an effort I would endorse.

I think I should clarify something about my use of the term ‘foster home.’ Most foster homes as we think of them today are very temporary. They’re for the kid to stay at while mom finishes rehab, or her jail term (case in point is my grandparents, who cared for a number of unfortunate infants a few years back, most of whom were returned to their delinquent parents). If they don’t go to their parents again, they get shuffled from home to home, and are never given the stable footing of a good family that I so enjoyed in my childhood. This is NOT what I’m talking about. I use the nomer because it is familiar, but in fact, the children taken in by an organization such as the one I described would be given to PERMANENT homes, to be raised by good parents until adulthood. This would be tantamount to adoption, not the babysitting service that is current foster care.

One of the key points here, though, is that this organization is PRIVATE. It is not governmentally controlled or funded, it’s just a few good people trying to do the right thing for the kids in their cities.

Comment by Wilson

I take issue with one of your apparent premises. Taking a child away from abusive parents is no more kidnapping than shooting an assailant is murder. Defense is defense, and that’s exactly what the government is here for.

Children are vulnerable to outside threats more than any of the rest of us, so the government has a legitimate place in their protection. At some point, just as an abusive husband can be divorced without any guilt, an abusive parent can be deprived of custody without any (extra) harm done to the nuclear family.

Now, I agree that the government is not fit to be a parent. That’s why we have foster parents (in some cases, even relatives can be given custody).

Comment by Wilson

Ah, I see you commented before I finished mine. Hmm.

Well, I’m not sure how suing for custody is much different from CPS, in the end. The courts would still get to decide custody, and the system could still be abused (by feuding relatives or cultlike churches, for example). The main reason for having CPS in the first place is to give the courts an investigative arm and to allow children to be protected in emergencies.

Comment by Toad

In the end, Wilson, the difference is who runs the organization. Governments are by their nature not well meaning, and are impersonal. A private organization on a small scale could easily be both, and, perhaps most importantly would be better suited to making the right decisions for the child once custody had been won.

The courts would still make the decisions, and in present state, odds are they’d make what I would consider the wrong decisions. But that’s what courts are for: making decisions, not parenting, which is part of my point. The idea is mostly an ideal, and I doubt it would work, but it is, at least, a semi-plausable solution to an unfortunate problem that I can morally agree with.

Comment by MomToad

Toad’s idea is an admirable one and one that could work in a perfect world. Orphanages were originally begun by churches to take care of the poor, destitute, parentless children. The problem became funding. There was not enough money coming in to support the flood of children. Hence, government intervention in the way of funding. That in itself would be alright but we all know that government money comes with strings attached. ‘If you take our money you must’..’ ‘If you take our money you must not’..’ And the churches found the constraints to be to burdensome and so many if not most church run orphanages were abandoned to the state. My parents, Toads Grandparents, have raised foster children for most of my life, even into their 80’s they were taking infants into their homes. A lucky few of these were adopted out to loving families, the majority were returned to their parents only to be placed back in the system when mom or dad went back to jail or rehab. My folks also spent some years as house parents for a home for delinquint boys. These boys stayed until: a)their parents decided they wanted them back b) they were old enough to go to jail c) they turned 18 and were not there for a jailable offense. This home was run by a Chrisitna organization and had a terribly hard time staying funded. They purposely did not take govenrment money because they wanted to retain the right to Biblical training in the home. It was forced to close after several years of operation due to lack of funding.

I do not approve of the government interferring in the lives of families. But, HOW can I watch a little girl continue to be abused? Does her father deserve to die?? In my opinion, yes. But if I kill him I go to jail. He has recently fathered another child with a young woman who also lives in the trailer park. Not the mother of my bus kids. Should this little girl be forced to stay in that home until her father father’s her child?

Comment by Toad

I wouldn’t say that my idea would only work in a perfect world. Not only would it not be necessary in a perfect world, but all it takes is a few good, willing people. The hitch is that there are a few good, willing people per molested child these days, AND because of the way our country has been allowed to deteriorate, such an idea would be shot down by the CPS trying to keep itself in business, because the CPS doesn’t give a flying flip about the kids, it just wants the money from us taxpayers. It wouldn’t work here and now, but it COULD work, in another imperfect society, as long as you had a few good people. Indeed, as you described, it DID work, for a good while, until people stopped spending money on it.

The issue really comes down to a spiritual one. Old Testament systems worked because everyone followed the same God, and if you didn’t, you acted like it. When they stopped following God, they crumbled. Even though our American government was built to have no religious bias, it was founded by a lot of good Christian men, and was run by them for a good many years. As spirituality decayed, so did the government’ and now, both are nearly dead.

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One Response to Governmental Parenting

  1. Bayth says:

    Hey Ziggy, did you get an e-mail from me a while ago? I have a new e-mail address.

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