I typically focus my blog on health and fitness related issues, but the beauty of blogs is speaking what’s in your mind and your heart regardless of who is reading.Therefore, this week, I’m going to deviate a bit.
I cannot ignore the happenings this week at Penn State as a mother, and an American. Abuse of any kind is unquestionably troubling, and when children are the victims, it is downright incomprehensible. I’ve spent 26 years of my life protecting my children, and teaching them the dangers that lie in unsuspecting situations. Of course, you don’t want your children to be paranoid, but today, you almost have to. It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to educate our children about the dangers of very sick people like Sandusky. And for me, sick is a weak description of such a psychopath that has robbed many boys of a piece of their life they will never get back. He has stolen their trust, their self-esteem, self-worth, and perhaps their ability to ever function normally again.
So what do we as adults, parents, teachers, neighbors take away from this horror? We look at Paterno and the young grad student, McQueary, that are currently under fire. I know as a mother, if I saw anything like what McQueary saw, I would have scooped that child up in my arms and ran to the nearest police station. My hope is that police would take that child, call his parents and place him in an environment where he can recover with love and trust. But then there’s the fear factor, Penn State has a reputation of winning, at any cost. “Tattling” on a winning teams indiscretions may fall upon deaf ears, and then what? Perhaps McQueary was a victim of Sandusky’s, and he lived with such fear he did what he was programmed to do, “keep it in the family.” That’s where dysfunction comes in. This group of men held on to way too many secrets, destroyed too many lives simply to keep the “win” alive. It makes me wonder what has happened in this country, where “the win” trumps everything, everyone, every situation, regardless of who is destroyed along the way.
When I was a kid, neighbors looked out for their neighbors. You always knew that someone was looking out to make sure you were safe. Don’t get me wrong, child abuse and assault has gone on for longer than I’d like to think, but there are sick people out there that go undetected. However, today with the internet, media, chances for getting caught are somewhat better. But, there is also this thing that has taken over our sense of obligation to protect our fellow man/woman, and it’s fear. People don’t want to say anything for fear of getting in the middle. Another story came out recently about a cover-up at the Citadel, where abuse had been going on from a camp counselor, people knew, and he still kept his job. The church, that’s a whole other mess, but again, why was it covered up for so long? People in jobs of power, abusing their position and not getting called on the carpet will simply use money to buy silence or power to buy fear, either way, it goes unpunished. Fear of losing power, fear of losing a job, fear of losing a lifestyle that has come to be more important than the morals or values our country was built upon.
As I see things like this Penn State issue come up, I can’t help but see the consistent growth of dedication to money and power while relinquishing the really important things, compassion, moral responsibility. Even the Madoff mess, greed and power. I believe that power, money and greed have topped the list of the “most wanted” things. We’ve lost our way and you can blame a hundred other things on what has been the demise of our country, but at the end of the day, I have to ask myself, have I gotten lost in this web of livin’ the dream? Am I an available mother for my children? Have I recently reached out to my neighbor? Am I giving back to my community? Am I doing my part to protect those that may be at risk of abuse, violence, harassment?
I’m hopeful that this situation at Penn State does a lot to make people think and perhaps act. Though we can’t change the serious damage that’s been done, we can certainly make a difference in our communities, churches. local organziations and schools. Are you doing what you can to protect children and give them the love and respect they so need and deserve? I’m hopeful that greed and power become less popular and volunteering and looking out for our neighbors comes back in vogue.
There was never a generation that didn’t have their share of challenges and horrors. But now more than ever we see our politicians divided, Pregnant and 16 and The Kardashians are #1 most viewed shows. We need to stand back and regroup as a country and redefine what it means to be an American. Could that young grad student have changed the situation and saved that young boys innocence? Perhaps, but not knowing the circumstances, or the fear that was instilled in him, I can’t say. I k now what I would have done, and I’m sure you would have done, but he didn’t. All we can do is pray for those boys and hope that justice prevails. Those boys will never get that part of their life back, but if they have shaken people up enough to make them think and be more aware and look more closely at unusual situations, their painful experience will not have been in vain.