Save the Children?

Posted: April 11, 2008 in Peace

As I was driving lazily down Government Street in Ocean Springs on a recent spring day, window down, enjoying life, I noticed a pack of kids walking my direction on the other side of the road. There was a girl, thirteen or fourteen years old maybe, twenty yards in front of a pack of ten to twelve year old boys. The girl was obviously intending to keep her distance from the boys, not from fear, but with that embarrassed look like maybe a sister would have with a kid brother.

Government Street is normally busy, but on this late afternoon it was uncharacteristically quiet (which, looking back, I’m glad). There was one other car on the road, driven by an older lady, and she was headed my direction. As she approached the pack of boys, they suddenly lined up single file, nearly spilling out in front of the car, and began simulating a vulgar sex act with one another. The driver swerved, and passed by me in shock.

I slowed down, shocked my own self, and looked at the boys out my window. They looked back, and one hollered something in my direction. I don’t know what he said, but the other boys laughed.

I was on the part of Government Street that has a center turn lane, and for some reason I immediately eased over into it and watched the boys in my side mirror. They sort of stopped, and the hollering boy watched me with particular interest. When I turned on my left turn signal to turn around, he shouted, Run! and began a stampede that would have taught a lesson or two to poor Lot’s wife.

I didn’t even intend to turn around. I guess I just wanted to scare the boys. And it worked.

It seems like I remember throwing rocks at cars when I was a kid, but the act I saw pantomimed that day was much more disturbing. And from kids maybe ten years old!

I’m not much on “the world is going to hell in a handbasket” discussions. Can’t see they accomplish much. And I’m not much into playing the blame game either. Sure, it would be nice if parents parented, teachers taught, after school programs had after school kids, churches worked, neighbors loved, and police officers policed all the streets. But what does that ultimately have to do with those particular kids?

Instead, I’m thinking about how messy it is to care for the kids that need it the most. We’ll all scream SAVE THE CHILDREN! and even mean it in our hearts. I’m walking across a bridge tomorrow with a few hundred other brave souls to demonstrate our love for abused and neglected children. Jesus loves the little children, and in our society so do we.

Well, sort of… We like the idea of loving children. But who wants to love the messy ones?

I’ll volunteer to teach an inner city kid to shoot a basketball. Maybe someday, when he’s rich and famous, I’ll get interviewed on ESPN. And I bet we could get a crowd together to hug on the cute kids, video the funny kids, and have a pizza party at the bowling alley.

But who will care for those perverted ten year old boys on Government Street?

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