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Don't make a scapegoat out of the Church

Published:Monday | May 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM


RECENTLY, I watched, on television, an impassioned speech made by former Children's Advocate Mary Clarke regarding a 15-year-old girl who ran away from home because she found that she was pregnant and did not want her parents to know.

Ms Clarke blamed the Church and the community for not having helped this teenager. Many teenagers, these days, do not attend church, so how will the church know that they are having difficulties?

As an advocate, Ms Clarke is far removed from the reality facing some parents/guardian, the church, the school and community, as far as some young people are concerned.

Whereas there is a definite need for the nurturing of our young people by all the agencies just named, I believe they (agencies) have to be afforded the chance to help. They cannot just impose themselves on the present young people. If they do without an 'invitation', they won't last as long as a snowball in hell.

As a mother of children and a church and community person who raps with children on a one-to-one basis, spanning a period of more than half a century, I know that what I just stated is a fact.

It does not matter who or how her parents are, if there was a relationship with them, she would not have run away. If she was connected to a church or people in her community, she would have been guided or helped. The church and community could not have reached out when neither knew anything about her situation.

I think that children's advocates need to be more aware of the situations they speak publicly on before they go blaming all and sundry for what happens to some young people. Society cannot be broad-brushed for everything that happens when some of these children cannot be related to or curbed.

If more parents would enrol their children in churches and positive community endeavours, children would have less time to get involved in adult affairs.