When I was a kid and we got a little too noisy in the house, my father would jokingly shout, “Kids, go play out on the run way!” You see, I grew up on military bases and we always lived near a run way. I wonder how today’s “guardians of children” would appreciate his sense of humor. Not well I would guess.
Truth is, our society is continuing to make more and more parenting rules under the guise of protecting children. The latest came out of the European Union. According to the online newspaper “The Telegraph”, the EU has published a new toy safety directive. It affects several popular favorites that have delighted generations of children.
It seems that balloons can no longer be blown up by unsupervised children under 8 years of age. (Who would leave younger children unsupervised anyway?) Magnetic fishing games are banned as well. The parts and chemicals are deemed too risky. Whistle blowers that scroll out and make noise in a friend’s ear are out. And all teddy bears for kids under the age of three have to be fully washable. Those EU regulators are “concerned that dirty cuddly toys could spread disease and infection.
Now, I am all for protecting the safety of our children, but our emphasis seems to be on the wrong end of things. I say that because of another article I recently read. It came out of the LA Times (October 10th) and the headline read, “New law lets 12-year olds consent to preventive care for STDs.” According to this new California law, children 12 years old or older can consent to medical care (including the HPV vaccine) without their parent’s permission.
We regulate the use of balloons, whistles, fishing games and teddy bears, but we allow pre-teens to seek medical care (that has all kinds of personal issues) without the involvement of mom and dad.
Children need the guidance of adults. They are incapable of making important life altering decisions by themselves. God intended for moms and dads to supervise their children, to guide them according to the scriptures and to help them make good decisions. I agree that some of those decisions have to do with the proper use of toys. But that same logic would necessitate that their parents are involved in more serious discussions like those having to do with medical decisions.
The basis of my comments this week focuses on the need for parents to assertively stay involved in the lives of their young children. Do not abrogate your role to the schools, the government, or anyone else. Stay involved. Stay in tune. Direct your children with confidence and passion.
Make sure they don’t swallow balloons or tiny pieces of any toy. Ensure that they understand hygiene rules. Keep their environment clean. But don’t neglect the weighty issues along the way.
This week, let’s all do a little inventorying. Big issues and little ones, how are we doing as the guardians of our children?
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel