Tragedy in an Age of Instant Gratification

Within the space of a few hours today, I read two stories about parents whose children died because the parents preferred to have fun than to raise the child.   Houston, we have a problem.

I don’t even know how to write about this articulately. I’m dumbstruck.  Not because I can’t believe children die at the hands of their parents.  Nor because I’m naive.  But I just generally ascribe tragedy to something more heinous or troubled in the life of the perpetrator than a desire for fun.

There are those who may accuse me of being soft on perpetrators, but I generally believe that no one sets out — early in life — to become a murderer, a child abuser, a rapist.  Generally those who do things that many of us think we could never do (emphasis on “think” vs. “know”) have not exactly had an easy life themselves. Often they are operating out of enormous pain, out of what was modeled to them, out of what they know.  And though that doesn’t excuse the choices made, I do think it mitigates them in terms of wondering why it happened (not in terms of consequences nor in terms of whether it’s right or wrong).

But these two stories relate to parents who just couldn’t be bothered to do the hard work, or even the normal work, of parenting.  One couple didn’t get around to nurturing (or providing nourishment for) their child because they were addicted to video games in which they were raising a virtual child.

Another woman smothered her child while planning a vacation, stating that her child’s suspected autism would be inconvenient to her life since she wanted to have fun. If I read the article accurately, the doctors weren’t even sure the child had a diagnosis of autism (as if it mattered either way).

Lest we think the consequences are, well, inconsequential when we are tempted to raise children who expect to have fun every minute, these stories cry out.  Stunningly.

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~ by Cary on June 12, 2010.

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