07/13/13 — The truth: What does 'it's all about the children' really mean?

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The truth: What does 'it's all about the children' really mean?

It is all about the children. They are our legacy, our future.

People say it all the time and, often, politicians use it as a slogan as they begin their "promises" tours on the campaign trail.

But what does it mean? What is the real crux of the issue? What do we need to do as a nation to really mean what we say when it comes to providing healthy, happy and prosperous futures for the next generation?

It has not been easy to read the news in Wayne County recently -- and there have been plenty of other horrible stories around the country as well.

And while they are not easy to talk about, they are easy to dismiss as anomalies -- rare occurrences that do not say anything about how children are living in America.

And some of that is true. There are many, many children in healthy and happy homes with loving parents.

But what about the rest of them?

Often when controversial issues, we think it is black and white -- one side or the other.

We miss that behind the policies and the rules, there is a nut, a kernel of a real issue -- one that is not so easy to resolve or to talk about.

And so it is with the "it's all about the children" campaign promise.

What do we need to do as a nation to prove we really understand this challenge and responsibility?

What do we do about people who don't get that an unwanted pregnancy can be prevented with birth control? How do we reach those who ignore that there is a responsibility that goes along with a sexual relationship -- a realization that a family could be created?

How do we get people to care for their children -- to offer them homes that are safe and nurturing? How do we counteract the bad stuff, the parents who would rather be doing something else -- and are not afraid to make their disinterest in their families known?

How do we care for the children, really?

A bill or law change is not enough.

We have to think about the nut -- the kernel of truth -- the families, the children who slip through the cracks and the changes in the way the world works that make it easy to have a child, but not so easy to hold someone responsible for caring for one.

We have to figure out how to save the children who live lives of neglect, abuse and a lack of love.

One law fixes nothing. But a discussion about truth, right and wrong and responsibility just might. If we can all pause long enough to listen and are brave enough to talk about the truths, the kernels, the realities we know exist but don't like to talk about, we might find some answers.

And we might actually be able to say, and mean, "it is all about the children."

Published in Editorials on July 13, 2013 11:14 PM