The continuing story surrounding little Madeleine McCann’s abduction six years ago brings up many different issues for all those parents around the world who have kept watch on the whole unfortunate drama. It was 2007, and Madeleine was only three years old when she was snatched from her bed while the family was holidaying in Portugal. To this day she has not been found, though British police believe that they may now have some leads that will bring some closure to Madeleine’s parents. The episode takes me back to my own parenting days, and finds me reflecting on a world that seems to have become increasingly dangerous to children.
For me, having children, loving them in the most appropriate ways, protecting them and nurturing them to become positive members of society can be a human being’s greatest achievement. When I reflect on the childhood of my two children, I am always content to know that I loved them well and gave them the tools to become responsible adults. When casting my mind over the issue of protecting them, though I know that I did everything I could do, I also remember that there were moments that were out of my control, times when they were open to all kinds of danger. There was a part of me that lived in constant terror of them being abducted from the school grounds, or when they were out playing with friends. My mind played havoc with all the thoughts of the awful things that might happen to them if they were snatched from me. We live in a world that is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time, and our children, often oblivious to the horrors of the world, are vulnerable to the traps that predatory adults set for them
It therefore didn’t surprise me when a US study conducted by paediatricians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, showed the issue of child abduction to be the greatest fear harboured by parents. Almost three-quarters of parents showed more concern for abduction over other serious issues such as car accidents, drug addiction etc. And we have good reason for carrying such fears. In England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics report 532 cases of child abduction. In 2004, a Home Office report segmented 798 police reports of child abduction in England and Wales:
‘Just over half (399) were attempted abductions. Out of the 798 reports, 56% (447) involved a stranger, 47% (375) were attempted abductions by a stranger and 9% (72) of all reports were successful child abductions by a stranger; 23% (183) of all reported abductions were parental. Those parental reports are only counted as a child abduction by police if the children are taken abroad.’
Approaching the subject of child abduction without frightening our children is a tough call. A new e-book entitled The Legend of the Gilded Scrolls by S.T. Hendricks, helps us teach them through story-telling, that not all adults are to be trusted. The story of The Legend of the Gilded Scroll is set in Weaverland, a secret, golden Kingdom far beneath the Earth’s surface. There, Scrollweavers work day and night to weave magical scrolls that protect children and make all their dreams come true. When an evil and cunning Trogard (a half-human, half-witch) called Nada abducts a child, the Scrollweavers invent The Golden Rules Scroll, which contains all of the important lessons children need to know about the danger of trusting strangers. It is a truly lovely story, one I wish had been around when my children were young.
If you are a parent with young children, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a guardian, a God-parent, I suggest you begin their education about adult predators with this book. It is a good lead-in to a tricky subject, and you’ll feel more at peace knowing that you have done something to protect your little ones. If you don’t have children yourself, but know people with young ones, please find time to refer them to this link http://www.uzv-legend.co.za/#!About.html
We all need to play our role in protecting our children from danger. S.T. Hendricks has done a wonderful job in doing hers, and with this post, I hope to pass on her gift to our children.