On my usual daily browsing around the internet, I read this article. If you don't have the time to go over and read it, the article discusses a fairly unknown policy of some major airlines- that of not allowing any unaccompanied children to sit next to men. Many airlines apparently will reseat men so that they are not next to children flying alone. Now at first glance I thought that sounded pretty reasonable, but the columnist made some good points that had me rethinking that reaction after a few minutes. Her main point was that we are creating a society where men are coming under suspicion of deviant behavior, simply by being male. The article linked to an earlier article, which quoted a father who said that he's very cautious about hugging or touching his own children in public, because he doesn't want to be accused of anything improper. Another man, flying with his family on the way home from a vaction, was asked to move seats by the flight attendent (in view of all the other passengers, after everyone had been seated) because he was next to some children flying alone. He complied because he didn't want to embarrass his teenage children by objecting, but he was humiliated at the public implication that he might be a child molester. The columnist who wrote this article made the point that this attitude teaches children to suspect all men, and may even lead them into more dangerous situations. (If they're lost, and see a policeman, but he's male, will they be too scared to approach him?) It saddens me to see what is happening to the role of men in our culture- first being marginalized as the 'dumb father' in so many TV shows and stories, and now being suspected as the 'pervert man' that might take advantage of any children he can.
When I think about having children with Brad someday soon, I want our kids to know their fathers' love! It saddens me to think that Brad might ever have to be nervous about hugging or holding his daughters (or even sons) because of what people might suspect. Fathers are such a huge part of children's development, and particularly in how they learn to relate to God as their heavenly Father. Our society needs to remember the balance between the dangerous few and the many loving fathers who need our encouragement to raise their children with love, not be always hesitating in their actions. The 2nd article linked here had a man quoted as saying, "You have to have a certain measure of faith in society". Are we going too far in trying to protect kids, to the point where they will be harmed by the boundaries we place 'for their own good'? If it's at the expense of their fathers, I think this deserves serious thought.