The VigilanceVoice

Friday-- May 3, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 234

"I've Got A Sore On My Penis!"
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 3--It is a little shocking at first to hear someone blurt out:  "I've got a sore on my penis!"   It isn't something you hear broadcast very often.
        But when my soon-to-be six-year-old grandson, Matt, announced the fact to me last night while I and my wife and Matt's three-year-old sister, Sarah, were playing a kids board came called CandyLand, I was struck by the innocence of a child's sexuality.
        "Look, G-Pa!"
        Matt pulled down his pants and showed me the sore spot.   It wasn't an act of exhibition or done to be silly or humorous.  He indeed had a sore.   Earlier, when my wife was giving the kids a bath, Matt had complained about the sore.   Apparently, the trousers he wears must have gotten smaller over the school year.  He attends a Catholic school where uniforms are required, and the crotch of the trousers rubbed the skin raw in his crotch area.
        I looked at his "war wound" and said, "Gee, Matt, looks like a raccoon did that!"
        Matt blushed.   A few weeks ago we had been at a store that sells dinosaur artifices and some real stuffed animals.   One item that was on sale was the bone from a raccoon penis, an needle-shaped bone that looked like a chopstick with an eyelet at the end.
        There was a bowl of them sitting on top of the counter, with a sign in bold letters that read, "raccoon penis $6."   Matt had taken one out and was examining it, just after he had studied an Allosaurus dinosaur foot.   A few days later when we went to store again with his G-Ma and aunt and sister, he had rushed to the bowl and held one up to show his G-Ma.  The store was packed with people as he yelled, "Look, G-Ma, a raccoon penis for only six dollars!"
        My wife and daughter had blushed, and the owner of the store laughed.
       The point of all this is a reminder of how innocent a child is about his or her sexuality.   They call this period, "The Age Of Innocence."   It is the time when a child is unabashed about the most private parts of the body, and, unafraid to speak of them unless the child has been made to feel ashamed or  guilty about his or her private parts by parents or guardians.
       Fortunately, Matt and Sarah live in an environment where their sexuality is not shied on by moral clouds, and they aren't felt to think there is something forbidden or mysterious about heir nudity or the difference between a boy and girl.  While modesty is taught, it isn't exaggerated or twisted so that the child shrinks from it.
       At the same time, Matt and Sarah are being taught to protect themselves from someone invading their innocence.  They are told by their parents their bodies belong to them, and that no one can or should touch them, and if they do or try to, they are to refuse or yell, and to tell their parents or grandparents immediately.
       They are also taught that there are "no secrets," encouraged to not keep them between themselves and any adults.  
       These concepts have been heightened with the recent exposure of the child molestation cases within the Catholic Church, but not limited to that event.   One of my daughter's closest friends, an older woman in he fifties, was molested nightly by her father from age six until fourteen, and suffers great emotional pain over it.   My daughter is aware of the dangers not only lurking in the vestibules of the Church, but under the roofs of the most conventional households.
       Her friend's father, for example, wasn't a drunk.  He was considered a "pillar of society," one who might be considered "above the salt."   Meeting him and talking with him, and looking at his "happy family," one might think him a perfect father.  But something was twisted in his character such that he nightly robbed his daughter of her innocence, and Terrorized her soul forever.   Worse yet, it happened while the other family members were present in the house, making the victim's home a living hell where she could not trust her mother or brothers to save her because she was fearful of being rejected if she told them, and torn between the love-hate of her father.
        Andrew Sullivan, a senior editor at the New Republic, recently wrote an opinion letter in the May 6 Time Magazine titled, "They Know Not What They Do."   It is about how the U.S. Cardinals still forgot the children's safety and security in their statement issued in Rome last week.  The heart of his concern was the guidelines issued by the Cardinals about defrocking a child molesting priest.   They said the requirements for being defrocked include:," a priest who has become notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory sexual abuse of minors."
       Sullivan took justifiable umbrage at the ideas of "serial," and "predatory," rightly claiming that one act against a child or young person is "predatory," and that the Church which requires a priest be a "serial" molester before dismissing and/or defrocking him, invites yet more "under-the-rug" stuffing of a horrible crime against a child's innocence.   Sullivan, a Catholic, was ashamed of the report.  He cited the main teachings of Jesus focused on the dignity of the vulnerable--children central among them.
       But what drives a child into a closet of secrets such that it can be molested by another and not speak out to its parents, or loved ones?
       To me it is all about Vigilance.
       Parents who try to "train a child's behavior" by imposing shame or guilt on it for certain behavior, drive a child into the caves of Terrorism.    One such way is to make the child frightened or guilty of his or her sexuality rather than proud of it.
       Matt and Sarah are proud of being a girl and a boy because their parents have an open attitude about their bodies and their sexual beings.  They also teach them about the privacy of their bodies, that no one has the right to "touch them," and that there are not "secrets."
      They are upholding the Age of Innocence, not driving it away.
      A Parent of Vigilance faces a dilemma in this issue.  If they were personally brought up to be ashamed of their sexuality, or inhibited or intimidated by it, it is likely they will pass that on to their children unless they realize that by doing so they force the child into "sexual darkness," a place where the child wonders about things and seeks answers outside the family that are not fraught by embarrassment, shame or moral lashes.
      One of Sullivan's main thesis in his opinion in Time is that celibacy removes from a priest the healthy aspect of sex.  Never experiencing a "normal sex life," the priest and its hierarchy have no concept of "sex itself," and yet cling to ancient rules of celibacy that create unhealthy and abnormal reactions in its clergy.
      The same can be said of many parents who teach unhealthy attitudes about sexuality to their children--the shame and guilt of sex.   There are those too who teach nothing, and turn their heads to the issue, leaving their children to fend for themselves to try and figure it out, making them vulnerable to the wolves of the world who feed on the innocence of exploration.
      There is also the false attitude that "good people" don't do such things, and an unwarranted trust by parents of any family member or close friend or authority figure to protect the child's innocence with the same alacrity that they might.   Yet most statistics show that the majority of molestation cases occur within the family, by family members or "trusted friends."
      Which is worse, a religious molesting a child or a relative?
       While the flap about the Church dominates our consciousness, perhaps we need to use the exposure as a time to become more Vigilant within our own homes.   Perhaps we need to reestablish our "sexual liaison" with our children, and provide more concern over their ability and freedom to speak to us about "private matters."
       And, the issue can't wait until puberty to be discussed.
      Child molesters prey on the pre-pubescent.   They thrive on destroying the child's innocence.   They attack before parents have the chance to warn them, assuming that a parent is going to avoid such discussions until it is too late.  And, they are right.  Criminals always take the "easy victims first."  And what better victim than a child whose parents don't communicate with them about the "privacy of their sexuality," when they are children.
      But it goes deeper than that.   A Parent of Vigilance must first build trust with his or her child from the first day forward.  To do that, a Parent of Vigilance must take the time to be "with the child" in his or her Emotional World.   They must see the child's innocence as its most precious commodity, its most highest virtue.
      "How do you feel?" is the key question rather than "What did you do today?"
      Discussing the feelings of a child with a child, and, exposing your feelings to the child, secures the bridge of trust between a parent and child.  It tells the child you're more interested in how the child feels than in what the child does.  You want to know the child's insides, not just his or her outsides.
      To accomplish this you need to see the child as your innocence.   Remember back when you were innocent?    Remember the hunger you had to share that innocence with your parents, and, that terrible feeling of the wall between the "child" and the "adult" where you were afraid to speak your mind, or, told by your parents that you were "silly," or "not to feel that way?"   But you did.   And you slowly began to realize that you couldn't tell your parents certain things...either they were too busy to listen or just didn't seem to care...or didn't grow up with Vigilant parents themselves and didn't know how to be good parents.
      That was when your Innocence was lost.   You lost it the day you felt Emotionally Abandoned.   And that's when the molesters leaped out of the bushes--the Terrorists of your soul who made you feel ashamed, guilty, unloved, forlorn.    You cried alone in your room, wondering why your parents didn't care, and were driven to pretend they did.
      A Parent of Vigilance is one who sees his or her child as he or she was once--thirsty to share the world with his or her parents, eager to be loved unconditionally, and desiring to learn how to navigate a world of many paths and bogeymen.
     Vigilance starts with you becoming your child's best "Emotional Friend."   Once you crawl inside your child, and let your child crawl inside you, you will find your own innocence waiting for you.  You will have a chance to preserve in them, what might have been soiled and tainted in yourself.

 Go To May 2--Oh, Where Have The Commie Pinkos Gone?

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