Monday, January 10, 2011

Time Mothers Did Some Old-Fashioned Mothering

The other day, a five-year-old student's thumbs were duct-taped together to prevent her from sucking them. Apparently, the sucking sound had begun to annoy her teacher.

It turns out the child was "anxious," according to authorities who investigated the incident. The child had not seen her mother in over a year. That mother is a sergeant in the U.S. Army, stationed in Afghanistan.

The media immediately jumped the "cruel" teacher: "Who would do such a terrible thing to a poor child whose mother heroically serves her country?"

Who is more "cruel" here - the teacher who duct-taped the child's thumbs, or the mother who abandoned the child?

Certainly, "abandoned" is a strong word, but let's not waste time. The problem is not one of "thumb-sucking." Thumb-sucking is a symptom. The problem is abandonment. The teacher clumsily addressed the symptom, further exacerbating the problem. With or without the duct tape, the child suffers the unutterable sting of abandonment. (The fear of abandonment may haunt this child long after the duct tape is forgotten.)

This nation must decide what is more integral to its existence: a well-adjusted American child, or the rights of an American "Mom" to strap on a rifle and go off in the other direction.

No comments: