There are certain things that cause irreparable damage in children, which keep them from the getting the starts in life they need to become healthy, productive citizens and to enjoy all the fruits life has to offer. These are the things that steal the joy and pleasure of youth which spur the learning of too much, too fast… that take the beauty of innocence away never to be returned.
Poverty is overwhelmingly common our world. Children can’t think or play or learn when they are hungry. When they have to focus on survival, the world becomes a hard, cold place where just living through the day is an accomplishment, and it is one that is too often only rewarded by another day of hunger. Poverty induces crime; young people will steal, mug, and harm others to get what they need to survive… taking actions that might never otherwise take, just in order to get by.
Poverty often seems to partner with two other striking evils: abuse and neglect. Adults who are stressed because of impoverishment abuse children and one another; often they have grown up in an environment of abuse and the cycle seems never ending.
Neglect likely comes from as a result of self-preservation. However hard and unkind it seems to us from other vantage points, many neglect those who need them in order to provide for themselves. Again, the cycle is vicious with neglected children growing up only to neglect their own offspring in a similar fashion. The hard truth is many have never known any better and few possess the tools – emotionally and intellectually – to remove themselves from the situation or to better it.
Yes, poverty, abuse, and neglect steal innocence away far too soon. Yes, it’s a dire situation, and yes, it will never completely end.
It is our duty as blessed outsiders looking in to lend a hand whenever someone will take it, to teach whenever one will allow himself to learn, and make a difference when we can, even if it is one life at a time. Ignoring doesn’t make the problem go away. It multiplies it.