Taking responsibility

29 Jul

I have a friend, B, who is trying to deal with a pretty intense situation right now. One of B’s long-term friends, who she hasn’t been talking to much lately, has a very serious drug problem, is being beaten by her significant other, and is keeping her pre-adolescent daughter in the same abusive, drug-filled life. B’s friend, we’ll call her S, does not want to give her daughter up, put her in a better home, or shield her from a childhood filled with abuse.

The questions B keeps asking herself are: should I intervene? Do I want to become involved? Is it my place? What will happen between S and I if her daughter gets taken away?

B’s main concern is not her friend, but her friend’s daughter. She long ago gave up hope that S would ever straighten herself out or get her life going in the right direction. But the daughter is not destined to live the same life as her mother. She deserves everything that life can possibly offer her, and shouldn’t have to suffer for her mother’s mistakes.

B asked whether I thought she should get involved. When it comes to other people’s children, I think our immediate reaction is usually to avoid responsibility, and to do so under the guise of respecting another parent’s decisions. But I think it’s crucial that we rid ourselves of that outdated mentality, and choose to see each child as we would our own children. I don’t think that means another person’s decisions should always be praised as better for the child than their own parents’. I do, however, think there are outstanding circumstances where an outsider needs to intervene. This definitely seems like one of those situations.

If we each took more responsibility for the way children were raised – not just our own children, but all children – then maybe not so many children would need to suffer for the choices their parents make. If we didn’t turn our backs to children in need, simply because they are not our children, maybe we would raise a happier, healthier, more productive generation. Just as you can’t live knowing your child is in danger, is being hurt, is trapped in a life of suffering, maybe you will come to feel it is intolerable for any child to suffer.

Maybe every child is my child and your child. Maybe.

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One Response to “Taking responsibility”

  1. Molly July 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    “B asked whether I thought she should get involved. When it comes to other people’s children, I think our immediate reaction is usually to avoid responsibility, and to do so under the guise of respecting another parent’s decisions.”

    Intervening is definitely appropriate in this situation. First of all, S is clearly not in the right mindset to be making decisions for her child (or even herself). So, someone who is not living in this situation can clearly see what a problem it is, and therefore, needs to respect not the mother but the child. I think that when this child finally receives help, hopefully from B, that S will be really pissed. But, you know, that is not important! It isn’t. This isn’t about protecting people’s feelings but their futures.
    Do something, B!

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