Article Overview:   What is the difference between "doing to" a child and "doing for" a child?   When it comes to giving a child love and affection, can we afford to defer it until we are "ready" to give it?  Or, does the child make decisions about whether he or she is loved or unloved second-by-second?   Find out whether we leave the door open or shut to the Beast of Terror in our madding rush to live life.


Sunday, January 25, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 865
What We Do To The Children, We Do To God

Cliff McKenzie

         GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Jan. 25, 2004 --  The minister's words rang clearly in my ears, as though his tongue was the clangor for the Bell of Vigilance, resounding a message for all the world to take heed:  "What we do to the children, we do to God."

An East Village community school (P.S. 169) auditorium was the site for a little league award's ceremony

      My wife and I and our three grandchildren and their parents were at an East Village school auditorium filled with mostly community Puerto Rican families enjoying a festive evening of awards from last summer's little league baseball.
         Our family had helped coach a pee-wee team and we won our league's championship.    At the level we were playing, any ball hit in fair territory usually ended up as a home run, so it wasn't about the skill of our coaching that brought us tribute, but rather than lack of coordination among the five to seven year olds learning that watching the ball was more important than watching the tugboats chugging up the East River that flows next to the pock-marked ball fields where we play.

Manny Rodriguez, president of the Felix Millan Little League since 1977

       The president of the Felix Millan Little League, Manny Rodriquez, put on a spectacular ceremony for all of the kids, coaches and parents.   It included singing from the Harlem Choir, ethnic dances by young girls from Puerto Rico and Mexico, and a glorious rendition of our America's and Puerto Rico's national anthems sung by a young woman with a Voice equal to any singer opening a ball game on national television.
        Manny had asked his minister to open the ceremonies with a prayer.   The minister offered his thanks to all the parents and the league and during the prayer made the statement:  "What we do to the children, we do to God."

The cleric blessed the community with the words "What we do to the children, we do to God"

       The words were a home run for me.
       As the awards were being passed out, and our grandchildren received huge, glittering pedestals of marble and gold tribute for being on the victorious team, I thought about what the cleric had said:   "What we do to the children, we do to God."
       Parents can do many things to children.   
       They can do harm or good.   They can show love or its absence.   They can care more for them than they do themselves or the reverse.
       I thought about the minister's carefully crafted choice of his words:  "Do to the child" versus "do for the child."
       The word "to" is an action word, suggesting an immediate impact.   Doing "for" a child involves something in the future, some residual benefit to be uncovered and discovered at some point beyond the "here and now."
       Children live in the "now" not the "future."   Their need for "love" and "affection" and "concern" is pressed between the ticks and tocks of a second hand on a clock.   Their thirst to be loved and cared for is fragile, precious.  Neglect and oversight by a parent or guardian can create dark halls and ominous clouds of rejection and despair in a mind formulating his or her self image and self worth second by second, minute by minute.

Children have an innate thirst for love

        A parent who is "too busy" to kneel down and give a child a hug, or to read a child a bedtime story, or to crawl into the mind of the child's vivid and explorative imagination to insure that the Beast of Terror hasn't set his hooks in the child's soul, leaves the child vulnerable, exposed and alone within himself or herself.
       "Doing to" was a good choice of words for Sentinels of Vigilance to emboss in their minds, for it leaves little wiggle room for the idea that a child's needs can be put on warm in the oven of affection, and when the time is comfortable for the parent or guardian, to pull it out and pay it heed.
       Of course, there are the more abusive and brutal acts done "to a child."  These include sharp tongues slicing at a child's worth, statements such as "don't bother me," or "leave me alone," or "you're stupid," or "you'll amount to nothing," or "I wish you weren't born."   Then there is the violence done unto a child, the physical Terrorism of hitting the child angrily, or sexual abuse, or deprivation of food.
       What we do "to a child" leaves either scars or blossoms on his or her soul.    Inflicting Fear, Intimidation or Complacency upon a child opens the door to the Beast of Terror's control over the innocent.    Providing a child with Courage, Conviction and taking Right Actions that benefit the child's future and all children's futures, drives the Beast away and helps the child learn to become his or her own Sentinel of Vigilance,  the child learns to defend himself or herself in the many battles that he or she faces over life's evolution between doing the "right" or "wrong" thing, or thinking the "right" or "wrong" thoughts.
       Then there was the second part of the prayer:  "What we do to the child, we do to God."

What if God was the sum of all the children of the world?

      I contemplated.    What if God represented not some beaded figure high in the heavens with a long flowing robe and staff that shot bolts of lightening, but rather God was the sum of all the children of the world?
       In this case, what we did to the children in our lives, we did to all the children of all time.   If we were cruel either physically or emotionally to our own child, were we then cruel to all children of all times?
      If we were Complacent about parenting on the basis we were "too busy" to show the love and affection at the moment, and elected to offer such love and care at some future time, but never got around to it, would the child learn from us how to defray affection, how to build a shell around himself or herself equal to the one we had created so that his or her children would not be able to penetrate it?    Would we be creating a legacy of isolation between our innermost selves and our children that would freeze the chance of future generations from breaking through?   
       "Doing to a child is doing to God!"  
       I thought about the depth of that responsibility.    I wondered how many parents looked at their children as the future of all children, or, as a symbol of God.    How many parents would turn to God if He or She were standing next to them asking for a hug and tell God:  "I'm too busy to hug you, leave me alone."
       If God bounded in the door from school and wanted to talk about His or Her day, how many people would tell God to go watch television instead?
       How many people would reach out and twist God's arm, or threaten God with violence if He or She didn't do what they were told?   How many people would not read God a bedtime story or sit with God on the floor and share their most intimate feelings?
       "What we do to a child, we do to God!"
       It was a fascinating statement, one that reminds me that the Principles of Vigilance have a measuring stick similar in nature to that statement.    The third Principle asks all Parents of Vigilance to teach a child to overcome Complacency by taking Right Actions that benefit the Children's Children's Children.
       In other words, don't wait to love and care for the child.  That time may never come.  
       And, when you love and care for a child, you are loving and caring for all the children.
       But, there is one other factor critical to the execution of the Principles of Vigilance.  And that is the benefit they offer.

It takes great effort to move from "selfishness" to "selflessness"

        Inside all of us is the desire to be selfish.    We are all consumed by a hunger to do what we "want" and "need" to do for ourselves.   It takes great effort to overcome the idea of "selfishness" for that of "selflessness."
       Caring for the Emotional safety and security of a child means we must put our self to the side and elevate the child above our own needs and desires.   To achieve this we must see the threat and danger if we do not.
       That threat and danger is that the Beast of Terror's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency will fill the voids we left when we didn't apply their antidotes, Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations.
       A Sentinel of Vigilance must be able to see the reason for "selflessness" over "selfishness" as being the act of Vigilance, the act of protecting the child from the lurking harms of life.

Children form opinions based on what has been done "to" them

      Those harms include the sense of "less," that sense a child has that he or she is "abandoned" because they are "less than" they could be in the eyes of the child's parents.    The children form such opinions based on what has been done "to" them, not "for" them.
       A parent, for example, cannot bring a child a nice shiny toy wrapped in a nice package and expect that present to compensate for a hug, or the emotional intimacy a child seeks to reassure himself or herself one is safe and secure.    We cannot do things "for" children.   We can only do things "to" children.
       And to be motivated to act, we must see the urgency.    If we see the Beast of Terror stalking our children, we are much more apt to put our selfishness to the side and stand between the Beast and our child to protect it.  

Parents of Vigilance must take a daily vow to protect the child in the "now"

     That is why a Sentinel or Parent of Vigilance must take a daily vow to protect the child in the "now."    The Pledge of Vigilance reminds us that the Beast is always there.  He is doing pushups waiting to act when we don't.
      But if we remind ourselves:  "What we do to a child, we do to God," we won't forget our duty and responsibility.   We will not defer our actions to fight Fear with Courage, or shun Intimidation with Conviction, or convert Complacency with Right Actions that benefit future generations. 
      "Do to your child!"   Take the Pledge of Vigilance today and live by its creed.

Jan 23--Meliorating Vigilance: The Goal For All Sentinels

Some Highlighted Stories From Last Year

Dec 31 Bush's New Year's Message:  Era Of Vigilance
Dec. 30
Walking The Path Of Terror: The 839th Day

Dec 29 Terrorism's New Year's Ball
Dec 27-28
Indiscriminate Terrorism:  Mother Nature's WMD
Dec. 26
The Beast Attacks Like The Mad Cow Disease
Dec 25
Learn The Secrets Of Vigilance On Christmas Day
Dec 24
Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels Of Vigilance Part V of V
Dec 23
Parable Of The Ant & The Leaf: The Third Secret Of Vigilance
Part IV of V from the Legends Of Christmas Vigilance
Dec 22
 Part III of V:  How Rock Candy Banished Darkness From The Land Of Vigilance
Dec 21
Part II of V:  The First Secret Of Vigilance
Dec. 20
Part I of V--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance.
Dec. 19
What Do Michael Jackson & Saddam Hussein Have In Common?
Dec. 18
Torturing Saddam In The Zoo Of Vigilance
Dec 17
Interview With Saddam In His Iraqi Rat Hole
Dec 16
New Drug Fights Teenage Beast Of Terror
Dec 15 Capturing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Saddam Hussein

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