Thursday, January 13, 2011

Heartbroken

I have debated over and over whether or not I was going to tackle this issue. My heart has been so heavy over the last few days and last night's memorial service in Tucson sealed the deal. When I hear the name Christina Taylor Green, I have an amazing flood of emotions wash over me. Sadness...anger....pity....hope.

This precious nine year old girl was the youngest victim of the recent Arizona shootings.
She was brought into the world on a tragic day for America and she left on a day that would forever be etched into our minds. She was one in fifty babies born on September 11, 2001. Her birth was meant to be a beacon of light during one of our darkest moments as a nation. Despite tragedy and pain, life does go on. She was special. She had dreams and goals. Someone took all of her hopes, plans, and dreams away in an instant. Why? God only knows what motivated such a man to act out in hate and despair.

My mom always taught me that God does everything for a reason. I've been told this my entire life. In times like these it's hard to keep your mind and heart focused on that. She had absolutely no reason to die. She didn't  have an uncurable cancer or some other childhood disease. She was perfectly happy and healthy. Why her? Why this way?

Jared Loughner is an evil, disturbed individual. He passed under the radar and attacked the innocent. In Arizona there are approximately 70,000 people with mental disorders. Out of those people, about 20,000 are being treated. Not all of the individuals are any kind of a threat to themselves or society, but some have the potential. With a history like Loughner's one is left wondering how in the world did people around him not understand he needed help? He didn't have to live a life of mental torture and the ones around him didn't have to suffer with him. From the reports and records surfacing over the past several days it seems as if he took a dramatic turn in the past year or so. Red flags followed this individual.

Why wasn't he helped? Why did it have to come to this?

As a parent, I am left wondering if there were issues with his upbringing. I can say with 99% certainty that there has to be some link between his parents and the way he was raised. Good children raised in healthy, happy homes just don't turn bad in a year's time and go on a shooting rampage when they are adults. It just doesn't happen. You may argue the mental disability that is very apparent, but I must polietly disagree. If you know your child and are involved in their life, then you know when something is wrong before it escalates into catastrophic trouble. You offer help before it's too late. I understand you may be arguing that point because he was an adult. This mental disturbance did NOT just occur over night nor did it just happen when he turned 18 years old. Guys, it just doesn't happen like that. There are no excuses. I believe most of this tragedy does fall on the heads of his parents. Did they raise him in a Christian home? Did they parent him to the best of their ability? Did they offer help before it was too late? Did they see the signs of a disturbed person but bury their heads in the sand? Did they do absolutely everything they could to help him or did they enable his problems even more?

I'm new to this whole parenting thing, but I am surrounded with people who know how to raise normal, law abiding, God fearing children. I don't mean to brag, but my parents did turn out two well rounded children. I've watched and analyzed their parenting all of my life. Over the last three years I have seen another parenting style from Ryan's parents. He turned out to be a great individual. So yes, I do know what I'm talking about here. I've studied and majored in child development. I understand what it takes to mess up an individual from childhood.

So what have I gained from Christina's untimely death? Her birth and her death has definitely meant something. She did not die in vain. The way she was taken from her parents has shown me that my most important role in life is raising a healthy, happy little boy. The things I do today will prevent him from going down the wrong road later on. Ryan and I are bound and determined to raise Caleb in a loving Christian home. We're going to be two of the most annoying parents in the world when he's a teenager because we are going to be involved. Ryan and I knew how to get into our fair share of trouble so I believe we can call him on his crap early on! He will resist. He won't understand at times. But I promise that one day he will thank us.

If you are a parent reading this, please take the time to really look at what you're doing. Are you involved? Do your kids know love and know how to give it back? Are you setting an example of how you want them to live? Are you taking care of yourself so that they may learn it's okay to do the same? Are you listening? Are you prepared to lovingly fight for them when they want to rebel? Can you sacrifice day in and day out to see them grow into something beautiful?
Are you strong enough to be the parent they need?

3 comments:

  1. I totally see where you're coming from. I could not imagine not being incredibly involved with Jake. I could not imagine not really knowing him.

    I studied mental illness in college, too. I get where you're coming from with the impact, or lack thereof, with this guy's parents. I'm a little more hesitant to say its origin because mental illness is so complicated, but I definitely appreciate your stance. I don't know how I feel about it (mostly because I don't know enough about the shooting), but I totally get where you're coming from.

    Gary and I are like that, too; we will turn out good individuals because we owe that to them. Our kids only know what their parents show them, and we love Jake (and our future kids) so much that we want to afford them the opportunities that being a good, strong individual attracts.

    We love our boy too much to be so laissez faire about how he's raised.

    I feel ya, sister :-)

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  2. Wendy,

    I applaud your courage to write this post! I once heard a parent say, it was not their job to build their kids Self Esteem, but to humiliate them, if necessary to make them "live right, according to so called Christ values. It broke my heart, that she said this, and when I spoke up, it was as if I had no authority to say so because I'm not a parent.
    Jesus teaches us to both love and discipline children, not either or. You have provided such wisdom and sound advice in your post. I really wish more parents would strive to listen and love more, and part of love is sound, displine. I look so forward to a day, when there is no more evil or sadness. My prayers are with AZ and the families!

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  3. Jared Loughner has paranoid schizophrenia. His mental illness has nothing to do with his parents and how he was raised. I think there needs to be more of a balance between the care that an individual with severe mental illness needs and their rights as an individual. I just think it is important to note that often signs of schizophrenia do not appear until the late teens or early twenties.and it has nothing to do with parenting the latest research indicates it is caused by a retrovirus. As heartbreaking as this situation is, this young man had no more control over his illness than an individual with cancer does.

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