This post was written by the Children and Family Minister at Reedwood Friends Church. Meeting her (and the Youth Minister too)was the first time I ever saw “Sunday School teachers,” attend IEP meetings, meet with children during the week, and teach them to pray for big and little things. The team, (Jade Souza, Drew Elizarde- Miller and Juulie Cole Downs) has been a blessing for my kids and I believe the following philosophy is why.
I can’t read the articles about the horrible thing that happened at the zoo. I definitely can’t read the comments.
My ministry is accompaniment of parents…parents in ordinary families in many ways, but also parents who are the most judged in our society, and who often experience profound isolation, invisibility, or scrutiny. When children act like children in public these days, parents come under criticism.
I want to say,
“Don’t you know that the definition of children is that they are out of control?” “Don’t you know that it is all of our job to watch and keep children safe in public places?” “Don’t you know that even the best parents are often overwhelmed or preoccupied and almost all parents are doing the best they can?”
The loneliness that comes from being ostracized in public when you are trying to do the hard work of parenting is so profound. To feel most alone when with others.
Please let parents of small children, especially children with disabilities, know that you stand with them, that you are here to help, that they are welcome in church, businesses, and public spaces, that their kids are perfect just as they are, and even when they are acting a mess they belong and are loved in community.
I can’t even tell you how dire this feels.