Sunday, 28 September 2014

Little children playing.

Yesterday, enjoying this golden September I went for a walk on a beach. It was the beach nearest to where I used to live and the tide was out so there was a lot of sand.

I remembered so many things whilst I was walking..both my goldens rushing around, in and out of the water.

There were a lot of people and children playing and sitting but as I got to the far side there were just two of us. A small girl was pulling a kite which soared high in the air.

As we approached the rocks on the far side she had to slow down and the kite tumbled slowly to earth.

She cried and tried to get it up again...I explained that when she returned to the other side the kite would go up again...I wanted to help but was very aware that an adult helping a child could be misconstrued...I waited to make sure her parents were on their way before moving off.

"She said it would fly again" said the child as she tugged on the string and watched the kite lifting slowly up!

I moved on quickly...and sat on a low wall watching the dogs playing and the child with the kite.

But what sort of a world have we now created for ourselves when an adult is nervous about helping a small child?

I am now so careful both in church and in school not to touch children. Where in the old days I would comfort a weeping child in my class, now I keep my distance and use gentle words instead.

The people who created this atmosphere of distrust are those who used their positions of fame or power to abuse children . Now we are aware of it we are polluted by their actions and the natural warmth of adult to sobbing child is gone for ever.

I am not sure it will ever return... not in my life time at any rate...sometimes I feel sorry for the very old people sent to prison in their old age for crimes committed decades ago...but then I think about the atmosphere of distrust we now have and am glad that some justice is being done....

"Suffer the little children to come onto me ." Jesus thought they were of the Kingdom of heaven.... I am sure they still are!

1 comment:

  1. That's the issue in so much of our life. There are so many definitions of vulnerability that we're in danger of making everyone vulnerable, whether they are are not.

    This morning a lovely lady of 90+ who is in a wheelchair recovering from a broken hip clasped my had as we talked, and I was conscious of feeling, what will people say? Only for a moment and it passed, but this is souring our pastoral relationships in invidious ways that break down communities as we all spend our times looking over our shoulders or worrying about whether us speaking to a child might be considered grooming?

    It's not going to stop my continuing to do what I do, but I'm ever conscious to be accompanied by a witness if I'm offering comfort or support to someone.