We have ceded parental responsibility and authority from moms and dads to the government. Government can protect our children, sometimes. But a government who can do everything for your kids, can also take your kids away if you disagree with it. As the old quote goes: “If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.”
We’ve put ourselves in a parental prison, and if we’re not careful, our kids will have to raise the next generation in the most selfish, restrictive gulag yet.
If you’re a parent, please keep reading. We could be raising the worst generation ever.
Hey moms and dads, if you’re like me, before you had kids, you imagined yourself teaching them, raising them, and being responsible for them. After generations of our parents and grandparents shedding their responsibility to the government in exchange for a selfish, me-centered life, we no longer have primary authority to raise our children as we see fit. That authority now lies with the government.
We’ve given away so much authority to the all-powerful state in the name of protecting children, that it’s a crap-shoot when kids who really need protection will get it. And when the state gets it wrong, kids die. The solution to every problem is now to call 911. See a kid alone on the playground? Call it in. See a young black girl with a much older white man? Must be a sexual predator. Drop a dime.
When you live by the government, trusting Uncle Sugar with all of life’s decisions, you die by the government.
We’re so dependent on “someone in authority” to handle things, that if you try to be Joe Citizen, you take the chance of a huge life-screwing backfire as your reward. Best not to get involved. I’ve had that thought plenty of times—don’t get involved, nothing good can come of it. I wonder how many kids end up harmed because of that thought? And as a parent, thinking this way makes life stressful. Everyone trying to help is a potential harm to my kids, and everyone watching me might drop a dime and make me a criminal. I prefer not to see the world this way, but the incredible selfishness of the “me” generation who brought me up made the world we live in, and yes, they left us with a no-strings, all-about-me, Uncle-Sugar-please-handle-this world.
There’s a place for law enforcement to take over. If I, for example, tell my lawyer that I’m God, or ask her to read the Bible to me in Swedish, then bring my kid to a church I’ve never attended and ask the priest to baptize my six year-old, I deserve to be separated from my child. I deserve to be locked up in a padded cell while I sort things out.
But when every divorced couple is calling 911 on their ex-spouse, or trying to get the alphabet-soup of agencies who are entrusted with our kids’ safety involved as some twisted kind of vengeance for long-dead marital crimes, imagined and real, the system becomes fragile and absurdly broken. A truly crazy person like the father who did the “I am God” bit, whose own lawyer called 911, was judged by police not to be a threat to his six year old daughter. Hours later he threw her off a bridge and killed her.
With my own kids, I’m always looking over my shoulder. I bet you are too.
We could spend hours swapping stories of our kids’ OMG moments. Like when I arrived in the living room to a tower of Babel made of tables and chairs stacked precariously and mounted by my darling four year-old so he could reach the toy that we placed way up above the fireplace mantle—specifically to keep it from him. You can tell me stories of four year-olds attempting to go for a drive in the family car, or escaping from escape-proof doors in the middle of the night.
Or when I walked into the kitchen and nearly impaled myself on the chef’s knife my five year-old was holding, pointy-end toward me. After my heart restarted and I stopped screaming like a little girl, I heard him say that he was just trying to help, because I had left it on the counter. He learned from me that chef’s knives were dangerous and shouldn’t be left out. At least he held it by the handle, pointed away from himself.
Kids will be kids, right?
But what if someone else saw that scene with the knife? Or saw kids walking down the street alone, or playing in my front yard unsupervised. I’m sure you’ve had that moment of fear: if someone saw that and reported it, I bet they’d accuse of me child neglect. When your kid gets lost in the grocery store, or at the amusement park, or runs away from mom and dad, or screams bloody murder (“please don’t hit me”) to get his way, do you ever look around sheepishly to make sure nobody’s got their cell phone out, reporting you? I know I have.
Since we’ve given all parenting authority to the government, once they get involved, it’s over. It’s over for you, and it’s over for your kids. You’re down the rabbit-hole, all the way, and there’s no turning back. The government works one way, and only one way: its way. Not my way or your way. People who carry a badge, or worse, a clipboard, can really mess with our lives, and with our kids. They do it day in and day out. When they show up at your door, you’re automatically a suspect of child neglect.
Someone dropped a dime on you. Snapped a phone pic. Posted something on Facebook. Tweeted that “father of the year” moment. Maybe they saw your kid sick and you casually mentioned using a herbal or home remedy instead of taking them to the doctor. Oops, that’s neglect. Maybe you believe more in prayer and nutrition than antibiotics or immunizations. As for immunizations, I believe in them—I think it prevents more dread diseases than the stories of terrible side effects, or autism, can prove (scientifically or empirically) against them. But I don’t feel that we should take your kids away if you don’t agree with me. And I don’t think the government should have that authority either (but they do).
Once you’ve been accused of child neglect, there’s no end of living hell. The state-appointed protectors of children never have to stop investigating. Never. When a case is opened with one of the alphabet soup of agencies responsible for vetting parents, it stays open forever or as long as they decide. If the case worker feels like you should lose your kids (maybe because you are a little too “religious” for their taste), they’ll never close it. A case gives the government unfettered and uninhibited access to your home, your kids, your life, opening every area of your life to some stranger’s judgment.
Refuse to cooperate with the state’s authority? They’ll take your kids away.
Take your kids. Your kids. Forcibly from your home. Screaming from your arms. With you handcuffed or restrained by police.
A couple in Silver Spring, Maryland, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, chooses to raise their kids to be independent. They call it “free range children”. They’ve got a very mature ten year-old boy and his six year-old sister, and they allow those kids to walk a mile to a local park, crossing busy streets at crosswalks. Halfway home from the park, the police picked up the kids and brought them home. They reported the incident to CPS (child protective services, one of a alphabet-soup agencies), who decided that the kids were too young to walk to the park. This story was reported in the Washington Post.
The Meitivs say that on Dec. 20, a CPS worker required Alexander to sign a safety plan pledging he would not leave his children unsupervised until the following Monday, when CPS would follow up. At first he refused, saying he needed to talk to a lawyer, his wife said, but changed his mind when he was told his children would be removed if he did not comply.
If you’re charged with murder, the police have to stop questioning you if you ask for a lawyer. If you have a statement in front of you, and the police ask you to sign it, and you ask for a lawyer, they can’t threaten you. But CPS can threaten to take your kids away if you don’t sign their “safety plan” lawyer or no.
I can’t think of a worse punishment having my children forcibly removed from my home. If someone wants to take my kids, they have to come through me, and my fists, my baseball bat, my pistol, my rifle, my flamethrower (if I had one I’d use it) and whatever else I have at hand to defend my kids. I’m not going to let them go without a fight. But all the state needs to take my kids is a clipboard. No matter what I do to protect them, if the state removes my kids, they’re going to use whatever force necessary to take them, including killing me. At that point, it’s futile. Alexander Meitiv made the right—the only—decision: sign whatever they give you. Pay the ransom, or lose your kids.
You can’t just disagree with the state when they come to investigate your parenting. They never stop coming back. They walk through your home, look at your laundry, check out your finances, count the Bibles in your house; they interview your kids at school and they show up unannounced at whatever hour they feel like. They don’t even honor the right of privacy the Supreme Court grants you to practice sodomy in your bedroom, or kill your unborn child.
If your thirteen year-old gets pregnant, and her school counselor takes her to the abortion clinic without your knowledge to terminate the pregnancy, that’s not criminal, it’s protected.
If you dress your three year-old boy as a girl and call him Emily because you believe he is a little girl trapped in a boy’s body—because he told you so, that’s not criminal, and you’ll get back-slaps from liberal society.
If you let your ten and six year-old kids walk to the park by themselves, a mile away, you’ll be hounded forever as child neglecters.
If you let your nine year-old daughter play at the park by herself while you work at the McDonalds down the street because you can’t afford babysitting, you’ll be charged with a crime.
If you leave your preschool (not baby) kids in your car for five minutes with the windows open in the 7 Eleven parking lot while you run in to buy them a Coke, you’ll be arrested. (If you leave your baby—or dog—in a hot car, not only are you a criminal, but you are also a terrible human being. There’s no excuse for this, no “I forgot”. Period. End of discussion.)
If you pack a Bible with your kid’s lunch to take to school and read during free time, it will likely be sent home with a note advising you not to do it again. It’s not illegal, but the school teachers don’t seem to know that. If you do it again, you may be asked to visit the school principal, but on their schedule. If you visit on your own without an appointment, you’ll be charged with trespassing. If you make a scene, you’ll be arrested. Then they’ll take your kids away.
It’s all our fault if we let this continue. We have the power to stop it, and take back responsibility for our kids. But taking back responsibility takes work. It means building families instead of tearing them down or abandoning them. It takes unselfishness.
Listen moms and dads, the most important thing you’ll ever do is raise your kids.
It’s THE Most Important Thing.
And it takes both of you.
That means you don’t leave each other for selfish reasons and use the kids as ping-pong balls or negotiating tools, or instruments of vengeance. You work out your differences, for the sake of each other, and for the sake of your kids. I know, it’s not fashionable to do that—it’s terribly old-fashioned to stay together “for the sake of the kids”. It’s even more old fashioned to fix a marriage instead of discard it. And yeah, it’s hard. So what? If we don’t learn how to take back responsibility for our kids, in this generation, then we are giving our children over to the most selfish generation yet: the one who can’t even give them basic protection from harm. If we continue to give up our parental responsibilities to the all-powerful state, our kids will grow up in a world of parenting in an American gulag.
(crossposted from sgberman.com)