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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Parental responsibility.

Well, here we go again! A couple of hours after having regained my internet connection last week, I lost it again. We are ‘up and running’ again and, hopefully, will have no further problems!

Two items of news have caught my eye over the past day or two. The first concerned the ‘guilty’ verdict returned on 18-year-old Stewart Blackburn for the horrific murder of his girlfriend, 17-year-old Jessica McCagh, by deliberately setting fire to her.

The other news item concerned a serious sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl as she walked home in Edinburgh. It is alleged that two youths approached her, on BMX bicycles, and took her into a nearby street where they committed the offence – sometime between 10.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. last Friday.

Without in any way wishing to detract from the seriousness of both crimes, and acknowledging that the McCagh family have suffered a great loss, I found myself asking a very simple question (or, if you wish, two questions!). What on earth were Jessica’s family thinking when they allowed her to move in, at seventeen, with a boy who appears to have already given some indication of a violent character; and what was a thirteen-year-old doing, walking alone on the streets of a major city, at that time on a Friday night? What was her family thinking that she was allowed to do so? (I guess that that is now three questions!).

The Psalmist reminds us that our “Children are a gift from YHWH; they are a reward from Him.” (Ps.127:1); while Paul tells us that we should raise our children “… with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.” (Eph.6:4)

Perhaps if more parents were to recognise their children as gifts, rather than as, at best, mini-extensions of themselves and, at worst, encumbrances with whom they are stuck, then the sort of news items to which I have referred would be much rarer that they currently seem to be. I trust that the next British government will do something to restore the concept of family, based on genuinely Christian principles, lest another generation be largely lost through lack of parental responsibility!

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