Protecting children from sudden harm

Among the challenges that many young people face today is the threat of violence—whether at school, at work, or at home. A recent study shows that even as steps taken to reduce accidental deaths have been successful, deaths from violence are on the rise. How, then, to safeguard children? In this final part of The Christian Science Publishing Society's special September focus, we offer a range of experiences—affecting both young people and their parents—showing that prayer is a resource for protection and healing.

We live within five miles of the place where young Megan Kanka was sexually assaulted and murdered by a neighbor. This terrible crime has stimulated the public cry for what is called "Megan's Law," a federal law designed to ensure that residents are informed should anyone move into their neighborhood or town who has a history of committing sex crimes against children, or who is deemed by the legal system to be a "sexual predator." While civil libertarians and others are testing the legality of this statute, the demand for "Megan's Law" springs from feelings of desperation, fear, and helplessness.

For our family, this struck close to home in many ways. Our own daughter was the same age as Megan, and in the days following the tragic event I faced some deeply troubling questions. What if it had been our child? What can I do as a parent to ensure the safety of our child at all times? For several days I kept a very close, almost obsessive eye on her. Instead of lessening my fears, this reactionary response to the crime inflamed them, leaving me feeling that this dear child was vulnerable if she strayed even momentarily from my sight. This was unhealthy for both of us and had to stop.

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Innocence in the city
September 23, 1996

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