But for many adults with responsibility for children and young people, there is the worry about their safety. The extended family is no longer there to assume guardianship; the neighbour is no longer necessarily a surrogate guardian; and the community may not be a safe place for recreational activities. Then the electronic babysitters which we adults have so lovingly procured for our children may be poison for their minds.
This worry about the safety of our young people is yet another symptom of the dis-ease of our society. We may mouth slogans about the youth being the future of our society, but our actions raise questions as to what future we envision.
The phenomenon of the distracted parent is beginning to be given the attention it deserves as a contributor to violent tendencies, depression and self-harming in the young.
While we may rightly be concerned about the amount of time our young people spend in the virtual world, a major area of concern is the amount of time adults with responsibility for children spend on their gadgets, to the neglect of their children.
As the pervasive violence in our society reaches nearer and nearer to us and our families, we have recourse to reactive measures—alarms, security cameras, apps and phones—and for those of us who still believe, we have recourse to prayer.
We may rightly ask, why, with so many people praying, things have not improved. Maybe we have failed to hear the injunction “Only have faith”. We pray for divine intervention, but we ignore the commandment to be neighbour to those around us after the example of the Good Samaritan.
We pray for protection but we fail to act with justice in our dealings with our workers. We cover our children with the Blood, but we train them in self-centredness and selfishness, racism and competitiveness. Faith cannot flourish in a ghetto or a gated community.
Faith requires us to move out of our frightened round of unproductive behaviours and touch the power of the Lord who is present in the midst of our confusion, ready and able to stanch the flood of blood that no doctor, no crime plan, no security system can heal. Only have faith and bolster it with action.