Monday, December 20, 2010
Lambs to the slaughter
There is no excuse. We may call it a culture gone bad, or place the blame on inadequate parenting, but really, each individual is ultimately responsible for their own actions.
Recently, a horrific series of stories ran in an area newspaper detailing the squalid living conditions and unmentionable abuses suffered by one year old twin girls, at the hands of the one person on earth designed to be their protector - their mother. It seems, that the baby girls were a "handful", so rather than deal with the daily ins and outs of parenting, this mother just disconnected. She put earbuds in her ears, plugged into her video games and lost hours to selfish indulgence, while her infant daughters screamed, scratched at the door and smeared fecal material all over the walls and floors. On the occasion that she wasn't plugged into her games and she (and her mother, the children's Grandmother, who lived with them) was forced to listen to their pitiful wailings and pounding on the walls, she devised a clever solution to lessen the noise. She simply hung couch cushions at one year old arm reach, so that their little fists were at least muffled.
The police had been called many times, with reports of children screaming, however, they were never able to anything from an apparent lack of evidence. Not until a passerby saw the two little naked girls cuddled up next to each other in a fecal strewn room and called the police that the girls were finally removed from their home. When the police arrived at the apartment, the stench was so horrible that one of the officers left the room to wretch. The mother, in an attempt to tell the identical twins apart from one another, lifted their shirts and identified them through their injuries.
My heart was rent for these helpless little girls. To be hurt by the people God put in your life to protect you in unconscionable. But the more I thought about these little girls, the more I thought about bummer lambs.
Bummer lambs are lambs that have been orphaned or their mother has rejected them for one reason or another. They actually have a very good survivability rate when properly cared for, but there is one insurmountable obstacle for them to overcome in adulthood. They have no idea how to mother. If you are raising a bummer lamb for meat, this is never an issue, however, if you intend to breed the lamb and raise little lambs, you will have your work cut out for you. The bummer lamb (now a sheep) will give birth and just walk away. They won't care for their newborn - they will just leave it there to die. They have no natural instincts. Having no mother to care for them, they have no concept of caring for their lamb. Teaching these new mothers to care for their young requires constant, intense instruction and intervention. And even then, sometimes it doesn't "take".
As I look at our current culture, I see we now have generation after generation of motherless lambs. Sure, there may be a physical mother present, but are the mothers truly mothering? Many mothers, for one reason or another, send their little lambs off to daycare, Head Start or preschool for their earliest introduction to this world as we know it. Can a teacher or "daytime care provider" take the place of a mother? Does a "daytime care provider" have the time or the propensity to teach a child how to respectfully address and adult or settle a conflict with another child? Will a tiny baby be able to be snuggled and reassured at the breast of its mother while in daycare? Will a day care provider take the time to champion every small accomplishment of a child's earliest years? Of course not, only a mother can do that! Children need a mother - not a "daytime care giver".
When mothers get in the habit of foisting their children off on some care giver or another, society as a whole begins to lose entire generations. Mothers, never having mothered, have no idea how to care for children. Those children grow and become mothers themselves. They have even less of an idea than their mothers before them. Little girls have replaced baby dolls and tea parties with laptops and cell phones. No longer do they play "house" - getting things ready for "daddy", they play corporate executive getting ready for the big presentation. Schools fill up with troubled children, diagnosed with various attention and psychological disorders, ER's fill up injuries and illnesses that were, a generation or two ago, taken care of by mom, at home. Families become disconnected, girls become pregnant and boys become lazy and angry. Why - because we have bought the lie that mothering is "beneath" us. We have forsaken our high calling as wives and mothers and swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the notion that our highest calling is that of serving men other than our husbands and mentoring people other than our children.
We have been like sheep, heeding the voice of an impostor Shepard and our children have paid the price. As we abdicate our blessed call as mothers, we have sacrificed our children like lambs to the slaughter.
The little lambs, cold, crying and naked - lying on the floor of their fecal strewn apartment are victims of a society that no longer values mothers, father or families. They are our tragic future - unless we reclaim our rightful throne in the heart of the family.