What do all the great religions tell us about children?
To love them. Care for them. Keep them safe. Help them become trustworthy adults. As Jesus himself said, let the kids hang around me for the kingdom of God is made up of these sweet young hearts. (That was a paraphrase.)
Which is one of the reasons child abuse -- particularly sexual abuse -- is so appalling to us.
Today I want to introduce you to a book by a good friend of mine -- David Lieber, a man who loves his children and understands his responsibilities as a father.
But who made on quick, obvious and serious mistake. His 11-year-old son was being a pest and it finally drove Dave to distraction. So to teach his son Austin a lesson, Dave got in his car and drove away from the McDonald's where they had eaten breakfast together -- drove away without Austin.
A few blocks and a few minutes away, Dave came to his senses and returned to get Austin. But by then someone who had witnessed father and son spatting and witnessed Dave leaving had called the police. Oh, my.
In Bad Dad, Dave tells the story of what happened, including the column he wrote about the incident for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he's been a columnist for years. He sets this engaging tale in the context of his column-writing work and some of the people and events he had previously covered in the suburb where the incident took place.
Was he eventually arrested? Yes. Did child protective authorities come to investigate? Yes. Did the 2008 matter become a hot news story around the country? You bet.
Dave, whom I know through our service together for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, tells it all in this book. In the end, it's another reminder of our responsibilities as parents to love and care for the God-given gifts of children -- no matter how annoying they can be sometimes.
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THE BIBLE ON THE SMALL SCREEN
The History Channel has asked reality TV producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife Roma Downey to do a series on the Bible to air in 2013. Best with withhold judgment until then, but I hope it won't seem like a cross between "Moses Calls 9-1-1 to Extinguish the Burning Bush" and "Wanted: Public Defender for Jesus of Nazareth."