While the lights of the stadium still blazed at the Super Bowl last night and families in homes across the nation debated the merits of puppymonkeybaby or doritos dogs I had another thought.
A sadder one. A darker one. One that kept me awake for hours as I lay listening to my children’s peaceful breathing.
There are many people near that stadium tonight who would not have been celebrating no matter the outcome. When you are trapped in the sex trafficking industry there is little to celebrate.
This may seem like a strange introduction to the phrase Love Doesn’t Change but that’s exactly what my son reminded me as I hugged him while we chatted this morning.
I tell my children frequently that love doesn’t change. It’s a simple statement that reminds them of a powerful truth we discuss often. My love for them will never change into anything different than love. It can grow of course but it will never change into something else and nothing they do or anyone else does could ever cause it too. Even more importantly God’s love for them will never change either, someday I will explain the types of love to them but for now, the word Love is enough on it’s own.
This simple step; an open, ongoing dialog that reminds them there is absolutely nothing in the world that could make me or their dad stop loving them is the first step in preventing them from ever being one of those people trapped in the trafficking industry.
When children know they will be loved in any circumstance, even unspeakable ones, they become a very difficult target for predators. Predators don’t want to be noticed by the herd, they pick off those they can take most quietly and easily. When a child is too afraid to tell you something because they don’t know it wouldn’t change your feelings they become the quiet prey. Let them know. Tell them. You love them and nothing could ever change that because love doesn’t change, not real love, not the kind a parent has for a child or Christ has for us.
“I’m a good parent.”
“I always check.”
“I’d never forget.”
These things are easy to say. We don’t want to envision a scenario where we could be responsible for our child’s death so we try to reason with reality.
But the reality is you could, you might, and it only takes one time. You could forget your child in a car. It could happen to you. I know there are cases when horrible scum of humans have intentionally left children but normally it is just an accident. A terrible, life wrecking, soul destroying accident.
I am terrified of something like that, it makes me check my car constantly.
But that is not enough.
I have started using the left shoe method (read about it here) and I have to say that it is so simple but so important.
I know it is intended mainly for dads or moms who are out of routine and want to make sure nothing could happen but it should be intended for every parent with a young child in the car. I want devices that will help prevent these tragic deaths just like everyone else but this is important now and there is a solution available now.
Every time you get in the car with your baby place your left shoe in the back with them. It will help ensure you never have to experience the pain and loss and guilt that so many good parents in our country have.
When I arrived at the mall to meet a girlfriend for shopping I had not planned to take my daughter but she was fussing and I didn’t want poor dad to have a rough evening so in the car she went. I put my shoe back there knowing that the feeling of playing my own music (no 3 year old in the backseat!) and heading somewhere to shop for myself for fun was so out of routine that it would put me out of “mommy” mode and it alleviated the fear I could get there and walk off in a rush forgetting the sleeping angel in my seat.
If we all stop pretending it could never happen to us and instead take steps to prevent it maybe it never would have to happen again.
This year alone there have already been 16 deaths in the U.S., 7 would have certainly been prevented using this method.