As adults we expect to walk alone sometimes. But, when you see a little girl walking alone away from the place most would assume she should have been headed, it raises concern. As few of us looked her way, nobody truly understood why she was walking in the wrong direction. Sure, anybody could guess, but no good reasons seemed to come to mind. No matter how many thoughts surfaced the only ones that resonated were those suggesting that the little girl was not in a good place.
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
— Mark 10:13-16
One day last week after dropping my 10-year-old granddaughter off at school I noticed something strange. As I exited the school parking lot, and turned right, I saw a little girl about her age walking down the street going in the wrong direction. She was walking away from the school? The little girl was walking alone. “The child was walking in the wrong direction!” There was nobody near to protect her in the event that a bad person noticed that she was alone, and walking in the wrong direction.
School starts at 8:30a, the time was 8:26a. My first thought was “where is this child going?” She had no bookbag, no lunchbox, and seemingly no concern of being seen walking in the wrong direction. I say that because she never looked back. Was she a “latch key kid?” If she was, that may explain why she was walking in the wrong direction. Latch key kids know that there is nobody home.
Sometimes, parents, expecially single-parents have no other choice. Somebody has to work to provide. However, even latch key kids need a system in place that monitors their comings and goings. This is the only way to keep them safe!
Even though this ordeal only lasted for a moment it felt like an hour, because within that time frame, my mind loaded up a handfull of frightening visuals within seconds. A few prompted me to think out loud, “I thought, “this is how kids get snatched, violated, or murdered.”
Another thing, the little girl wasn’t holding a cell phone in her hand, like any child who had one would. In my heart I knew something wasn’t right, even if what was wrong wasn’t going to put her little body in harms way.”
The flow of traffic prohibitted me from stopping, even looking her way was not a good idea. However, I had to look, because I’m always in ‘mom mode’. No matter how old I get, it seems that retiring from being a mom is impossible, even if most of the work these days happen in my head.
Unfortunately, I don’t know where the little girl was headed, or whether she got there safe. I pray that she changed her mind, turned around and not continue walking in the wrong direction. I just don’t know, and not knowing doesn’t sit well with me, because I’m a mom who stands up for children.
Sadly, too many adults don’t know how not having both parents can affect children. Now, before anybody begins to assume that I’m bashing single parent homes, please stop, because I’m not!
Seeing that I was once a single parent following a divorce many years ago, I know what being one entails. I also know that children can thrive and become productive citizens in single or two-parent homes. Is it more difficult to make that a reality? Yes!
On the whole, “it’s certainly possible to raise good kids if the primary parent lays a good foundation. Here’s the thing, collectively the system has failed our children. The system that I’m referring to is broad and includes the church. I can’t help but wonder why there was nobody there, around school grounds to redirect this little girl.
Many young people not only feel abandoned, they feel rejected, and trapped in a world that sees them as a commodity rather than a blessing from God. To get into the head of a child one must first take a trip back down memory lane, and while walking, make an honest effort to be as honest as possible.
As it may be, the only way that an adult can truly understand a child’s heart is remember how it felt to be one. Perhaps then it won’t be so easy to miss warning signs.
The time has come for us to own up to our shortcomings? And yes, no matter how perfect one believes him or herself to be, there is always room for improvement.
People need to stop saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong with these young people?”
News Flash! What’s wrong with young people in many cases is that those responsible for them have settled for not doing what’s right for them, in God’s sight.
I’m a mother, and grandmother, about to be a great grandmother. I was a therapeutic foster parent for (5) years in Atlanta, so I know a lot about family problems that affect children. In light of knowing so much about their plight, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve done my best on behalf of the village.
(Prayer for Today)
Father God, come down and rain blessings over our children. Please forgive us for not tending to their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health individually, or as a village in the manner that You desire. God open the world’s eyes to everything bad in the eyes of a child, so that the world will know how to reach them. God help us! In Jesus Name, Amen.