Intimacy and Devotion

Children expect parents or loved ones to love, provide, nurture, protect and be available emotionally, physically and spiritually for them from birth until at a bare minimum of age 13 to 18 years of age.  When the basic needs of children in any country goes unmet specific predictable results manifest themselves.   According to reports from The Department of Health and Human Services, child maltreatment is the most common form of child abuse.  According to DHHS children from birth to age one, are the largest group of abused children per capita.  Almost 22 of every 1,000 children under age 1 fall into that category.  78.5% of this age group experience neglect, 17.6% experience physical abuse, and 9.1% of this young group of age 1 and under experience sexual abuse.  For the fiscal year ending 2011 over 1570 children died as the result of child neglect and abuse.  80% of these reported fatalities were under age four.  78.3% of these reported fatalities was sadly reported to have happened at the hands of one or more of their parents.

A perpetrator is defined as the individual who is the abuser or neglector of a child.  The following is a sobering story:  Over 80% of duplicate child perpetrators are a parent and 87.6 percent of those parents are the biological parent(s) rather than a step parent.  Gender wise, 19% of abuse or neglect is from the father, 38% from the mother and 18% from mother and father together.  What then does all of the data have to do with intimacy and devotion?  First, parents who neglect and abuse their children cannot truthfully claim they were intimate parents.  Second, parents who neglect and abuse their children cannot truthfully claim they were devoted to the welfare of their children.  Finally, parents who neglect and abuse their children cannot truthfully claim their actions had no impact socially, spiritually, or developmentally on their children.

In 1959 Harry F. Harlow wrote “Love In Infant Monkeys”.  Harlow discovered that monkeys depraved of the natural nurturing of their mothers during their first 8 months of early development, never fully readjusted to receiving nurturing or properly interacting with other monkeys.   Harlow postulated that likewise with humans, as the statistics above seem to confirm, where there is an absence of nurturing and intimacy, it becomes the breeding ground for neglect and abuse to become generational.  These little monkeys, unknown to themselves will almost automatically develop into aggressive, combative, none intimate void of devotion adult monkeys.  Jesus expressed his desire to nurture Israel who had been abused by the Egyptians for 400 years, abused by Assyria, abused by Babylon, abused by Rome’s brutal Emperors and so much more.  Israel could not embrace nurturing because physically and emotionally they had become desensitized.  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets and stone those that are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together as a nurturing hen would gather all of her young ones, but you would not allow me.  Luke 13:34  Summarily Jesus was declaring over 2000 years ago what Harry F. Harlow found in 1959.  Generational neglect and abuse disengages offspring from being able receive the very thing they have been depraved of that will heal the void left from their abusers.

Discussion Question:  How do you reconnect once a major disconnect such as this happens?

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One Response

  1. First,I think that when this happen especially as a child you have to say this is not your fault in what happen to you. You had no control over what you can’t control. Second, slowly start the healing process spiritually & mentally, also physically through folks that can help you. Lastly, have an active prayer life while trusting in God.

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