Our Kids Need Protecting; Not Our Community
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
A magnificent quote by Stephen R. Covey is, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."
Covey is reminding us to keep the main thing (what we profess to hold as our most important core value in life) the main thing (what should supersede all the other demands on our time and energy).
We all want to have deep and meaningful relationships with our children and grandchildren. We also want to hang out with our friends, get ahead at work, and check our emails.
The rubber meets the road, though, when these two goals of ours come into conflict with each other. Will we regularly give our children the undivided attention that is so important for their growth and self-confidence, or will we allow "life" to distract us from this sacred responsibility we as parents have?
Members of our charedi community are feeling humiliated and even under siege from the horrible press we have been subjected to in the wake of the Weberman trial and many people are taking to the editorial pages, airwaves, and blogs in order to defend the honor of our society.
Ironically, those who are toiling to defend our community's image without expending at least an equal amount of their energy improving child safety are making our public image worse not better, for they are just hammering home the points our detractors are making.
Our charedi community is not getting bad press because we have child molesters. Sadly, every society in the world has its share. The Williamsburg community is getting slammed precisely because they seem to be caring more about their reputation and less about the trauma of their suffering victims.
Our public image will dramatically improve when we direct our focus inward; encouraging abuse victims to come forward without fear of retribution, providing them with professional counseling, and beginning research-based, child safety training for children, parents and educators.
Let's keep child safety the "Main Thing." Everything else will fall into place once that happens.
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