Love, Always

Why people do terrible things — and how we can all make it stop.

A few weeks ago, a friend wrote to me to share a deeply upsetting story.

A man that she knew — that her family had known, for many years — had been accused of sexually molesting young girls.

My friend asked me, “Suzanne, I am feeling so horrified. So powerless and upset. Is there anything that we — as members of the community — could have possibly done to stop this from happening?”

The answer to my friend’s question is:

Yes.

There is something that could have been done.

Lots of things, actually.

And ultimately, it all comes down to parenting.

If this man had been parented differently — particularly during the first six years of his life, when our attitudes about sexuality are formed — this tragedy might have been prevented.

If these young girls had been parented differently — if they had been more closely supervised by their parents — this tragedy might have been prevented.

When parents do their job correctly — providing unconditional love, but also firm rules and unyielding supervision — then children have a great shot at growing up healthy and strong.

When parents do not do their job correctly — when they shame their children, ignore them, withhold love and affection, neglect them and / or allow them to navigate through the world, unsupervised — that’s when tragedies are more likely to happen.

I am not writing these words to point fingers.

This is not an issue of “blame.”

Every human being has free will. As adults, we can choose to do what is right, or we can choose to engage in unhealthy, distorted, or even criminal behavior.

It serves no purpose to “blame the parents” when an adult chooses to do something wrong.

But if the question is, “How can we prevent terrible things from happening?”

The answer does, ultimately, track back to parenting.

Parents, I am urging you: Please be exceptionally careful and intentional about the way that you raise your kids. Please strive, every day, to become the best possible parent you can possibly be.

By doing this, you will give your child the best possible chance at a happy, healthy, well-adjusted life.

By doing this, you will play a HUGE role in creating a world where terrible things… do not happen.

Just imagine if every single child, from this day forward, was raised with unconditional love, clear boundaries and strong morals. If every child was given the gift of healthy self-esteem, and a healthy relationship with his or her body and sexuality. If every child knew how to give and receive love, and knew right from wrong.

Imagine a world with no serial killers, rapists or molesters.

That world can be created.

It is possible.

But only if all of us play a part.

It begins with each parent, each home, each child.

It is a responsibility shared by all of us.

To me, this feels like the opposite of blame.

This is hope.

This is purpose.

This is solace.