David White

Parents now have an Olympic-sized example of how they should look out for their kids

The parents of former gymnast Anna Dayton stand behind her as she addresses Larry Nassar Tuesday in a Michigan courtroom. “I’m here to take back my power relinquish yours,” Dayton told Nassar. “From now on, I decide who I become. I will write the ending to my life story, free from this darkness that you’ve created.”
The parents of former gymnast Anna Dayton stand behind her as she addresses Larry Nassar Tuesday in a Michigan courtroom. “I’m here to take back my power relinquish yours,” Dayton told Nassar. “From now on, I decide who I become. I will write the ending to my life story, free from this darkness that you’ve created.” Associated Press

Never again.

No more kid drop-offs at practice so we can catch up on Facebook at the corner coffee shop.

No more leaving our children unattended with a grownup in a medical room because we’ve got to take this business call.

No more giving the monsters who prey on our sons and daughters the slightest sliver of opportunity to molest and abuse the ones who need our diligence, not our worry-free absence.

Something has to change, and it won’t be the perverts who win our children’s trust so they can steal their innocence. There will always be predators, they will never stop trying to hurt our kids, and they will always be hiding in plain sight where we never suspect.

Something has to change, so it has to be us.

Most of the parents of the 150-plus girls and women who were sexually assaulted by that U.S. Olympic team doctor – you can say his name, we’ll not – did their best. Except those who didn’t believe their daughters, because, are you kidding me?

These parents trusted the people we’re expected to trust. The pictures of Olympic gold medalists on his walls made them feel safe – did you catch that? That animal hung posters of his victims in the office, like trophies.

These parents reported suspicion to the people they were supposed to count on to stand up for their kids. If they waved off red flags, it’s because who had ever heard of such a thing?

Everything is different now. Now, we know different. We now know better. That alone forces us to do better.

This isn’t a call to not trust the coaches and educators and medical staff and ministers who serve our children. We’re talking about a collective of people who overwhelmingly pour into our children’s lives for good.

This is a call to be there with our children at all times, because that’s what a parent is supposed to do. That’s not helicopter parenting. That’s called being there to keep our kids safe. If someone wants to hurt our children, it will be over our ever-present body.

If that hurts Little Johnny’s or Suzie’s chances of a college scholarship, so what? Sit down with an abuse victim some time. Ask them about the real cost of winning at all cost.

As a pastor and parent, no woman or child gets a private audience with me. Ever. No adult gets a private audience with my children. Ever. It keeps my children safe. It keeps me safe. It keeps your children safe. As an adult, to put yourself alone with a kid and require parents to trust you is to not deserve the trust in the first place.

Tell me that I’m doing too much. We’ll talk later when you’ve done too little.

My teenage daughter Elise plays softball. She hurt her knee as a catcher and needed months of rehab.

The easy choice would’ve been to send her in and wait in the car, my face stuck in my smart phone on Twitter. The right choice was always to sit in the room and watch as a man treated her knee. She needed to know I was there. She needed to see that she was safe.

She doesn’t play travel ball because we can’t travel with her every weekend. If that keeps her from a scholarship at Michigan State, well, good.

My boys played on a baseball team that practiced at the same time as Elise but across town. The easy thing would be to drop them off and come back for post-practice runs. The right thing was to stay and watch.

Go ahead. Tell us how you’re too busy, and don’t have time, and can’t be everywhere all at once. Think of that before you have kids and put them in sports next time.

Some things just aren’t worth the risk. This is at the top of the list.

Stop demanding world-class coaches and private tutors if they demand to see your children behind closed doors. Stop thinking sexual predators drive creepy vans with shaded windows outside the local elementary school.

Now that we know better about them, our children deserve better from us.

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