15 March 2007

Why MOPS is so important

I'm a huge fan of an organization called Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS). It's a fantastic group of women, truly dedicated to the concept that mothering matters. My wife has been involved with MOPS for several years now, and I am more impressed than ever by the quality of the leadership training, the service they provide to moms, the love and care and insight and everything. I just can't say enough good things about it.

I mention it because I recently came across an article by Richard Farson that reminded me (again) of how cool MOPS is. I came across Farson because of some stuff he wrote about fault-tolerant leadership and the relationship between failure and innovation - but this article is about kids, parents, danger and what we really need. Here's an excerpt:

The Real Danger to Children
(Originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune)
by Richard Farson

The coverage of child abduction coming from most media, pictures on milk cartons, etc., leads one to believe that missing children have been abducted by strangers. Actually, almost all of them are either runaways or have been taken by a parent in violation of custody provisions. Children do get lost and parents understandably become frightened, but only about one in nine thousand children who have been reported missing have been abducted by strangers.

The disturbing fact is that children are in far more danger from their parents than from strangers. In the U. S. more than two thousand children are murdered every year (more than five a day) and over half of these murders are committed by the children’s parents, with most of the rest by other family members or acquaintances. 66% of these children are less than a year old, and 58% of the one to four-year-olds are killed by kicking them or beating them with fists or a blunt instrument. The problem is vast, almost beyond belief. Hundreds of thousands of children are abused every year, estimates run up to four million, and the abuse is perpetrated almost entirely by their parents.

What every parent needs, not only at those times, but continually, is help from others. Unwarranted anxieties about kidnapping and molestation, however, have increased dramatically over the past few years, making parents worried about all strangers. The current media obsession with kidnapping has amplified these worries beyond all rationality, leading parents to be even more afraid of strangers. Rather than being grateful for the helping acts of people unfamiliar to us, we become frightened when we see them pushing our children in swings, buttoning their jackets, tying their shoes, wiping their noses—even just talking to them. As a result they are less and less likely to offer such help.

And that's something MOPS provides - help, community, encouragement, guidance, a listening ear.

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