I love kids. They’re fun, funny, curious, interested, interesting… I just love hanging out with them.
It baffles me to think that there are people who see kids quite differently to this. Which leads me to say:
If you are in a position of authority, don’t use it to mess with kids.
You might be a teacher. A Scout leader. A parent. Or even, god forbid, a church leader. Whatever. The rule is the same: do not mess with kids. And by mess, I mean sexualise them, or abuse them, or touch them or talk to them or treat them in any way that you think needs to be hidden.
And if you do?
Don’t blame the kid.
Hillsong church is back in the news today, not because of money which is a refreshing relief. However, the reason they are in the news is disgusting. Abhorrent. Shameful.
There’s a certain feeling of sickness that rises in my gut when I hear about child sex abuse.
The abuse of up to nine boys. Blame, laid harshly at the feet of these children.
Silence bought, with no mention of prosperity doctrine or tithing.
I spent time as a churchy, and to be totally and utterly honest, I miss it. I miss the community of belonging. The learning. The inclusion. But really, what I miss is the church I went to in Sydney. This was a good church. Solid. Warm. Truthful.
Then I moved to Newcastle, heard preachers spout all kinds of shit, became bored with the angst of it, came out of the closet, immersed myself in music and people and volunteering, met my beloved and found myself navigating a different life. A good life. Possibly not the life I thought I would have when I was at my church in Sydney… but a life I love, with people I love.
I can’t pull apart the latest Hillsong juggernaut. I don’t understand enough, and I can’t see past my own disgust at it to be fair or level headed in my representation of information. You can read their statement regarding this here, and there are many lines for you to read between. And don’t let the signage on their building escape your attention.
So if I won’t comment on what’s going on, what’s the actual point of this post?
Don’t fuck with our kids.
The stuff that happened to the boys at the centre of this scandal – it takes a lifetime to even begin to recover from. Because in reality, there is no recovery when trust is shattered. When you find out that the world is not safe. When you learn that truth can be bought and sold. When people you think are good turn out to be your worst nightmare. When you get blamed, just for existing, really.
We can’t fix it. We can be sad and sorry and hurt and angry – but we can’t fix it.
So, the point again:
Don’t. Just… don’t.
Protect kids. Educate them. Care for them. Respect them. Help them. Guide them. Be an example. Give a damn. Make sure they know they’re worth it. Encourage them to grow into the kind of people you would want to spend time with.
Just… Don’t screw them up.