Serbian Orthodox Church
Talk Given by Attorney Linda Chambers:
Raising and Protecting Children Amid the Dangers in Today's World
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church Slava, May 12, 2013
When Father Rodney suggested the topic of Raising and Protecting Children Amid
the Dangers in Today’s World, I wondered how I could be qualified to talk to you,
especially to you Mothers on this Mother’s Day, because Butch and I were not
blessed with children.
I might not have the experience of being a parent but, I can talk to you about
protecting your children from the dangers I deal with as an assistant district
attorney. Sadly, I have years of experience with children who have been abused
both physically and mentally by adults. Sometimes the abuse is from strangers;
more often it is not. I get satisfaction when I am successful in prosecuting
those who hurt little ones but, that might mean the child’s mother or father
are jailed. Yes, the child is protected from future harm if Dad is removed
from the home but sometimes the family is destroyed and the child feels it
is his or her fault. The justice system is continuously trying to provide
support for families and individuals by establishing multi-disciplinary teams
that include mental health professionals and medical personnel in addition to
lawyers and police officers. We team members go into schools and talk to kids
directly in an attempt to be pro-active and prevent abuse. Unfortunately,
I haven’t seen a decrease in the number of child victims who pass through my office.
I can list suggestions for parents, like monitoring internet use, educating
children about the dangers of drug use, researching backgrounds of those who will
be in contact with kids… There are numerous resources available to provide advice
to parents and caregivers so I won’t use this talk as lecture on parenting technique.
Instead, I’ll share some of my observations.
Children raised in established and respected churches have a support system
that extends beyond the multi-disciplinary teams I mentioned earlier. Yes,
there has been much publicity about abuse by priests and pastors. Studies have
shown that child abusers are often respected members of communities such as teachers,
counselors and coaches. Let’s face it, kids don’t approach, let alone trust, creepy,
sneaky strangers. But, I believe that the “respectable abuser” is exception…
that the vast majority of children are surrounded by adults who have only good
intentions. Kids who have a trusted pastor or priest seem to report abuse earlier
and recover from the harm with less after effects.
The church gives a child a safe place, a loving protector and hope that the
future will be better than the past. A belief in God can carry kids through the
phases of recovery. Yes, I hear kids ask why God would let this happen to me.
That is the opportunity for parents and guardians and clergy to teach the young
about our faith, our church and about the relief of knowing that God will be with
them through the pain. These children turn to their faith for comfort and
reassurance that all will be well.
That being said, Father has also reminded me that this is our Slava, a happy
occasion. So, to conclude my talk on a more cheerful note, I’ll read some
“Letters to God” that I found on a website from St. Luke Orthodox Church in Illinois:
Dear God, Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? Lucy
From Sam: Dear God, I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not
with so much hair all over.
Norma wrote: Dear God, Did you mean for giraffe to look like that or was it
From Mark: Dear God, I keep waiting for Spring but it never come yet.
Dean wrote: You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both ways.
Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones,
why don’t you keep the ones you got now? Jane
Dear God, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church.
Is that ok? Neil
Dear God, I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. Ruth M.
Jennifer wrote: Dear God, In bible times, did they really talk that fancy?
From Joyce: Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for
was a puppy.
Dear God, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each so much if they had their
own rooms. It works with my brother. Larry
Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole
world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. Nan
Finally, from Elliot: Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I’m not
So, raise your children in the Church, be an example to them with your faith
and maybe they will think about God even when they are not praying!
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