Updated: Feb 12, 2022
The family is the foundational institution of our society, and when families break down, it's our children who suffer the most
Written by Vivienne Juan, Associate Elect Partner
The family is the basic unit of society. When that society is breaking down, it is therefore due to families breaking down. Family values ought to be centred on absolute truth and objective, natural laws and principles, however when they are not, they are not loving. Yes, we can acknowledge the economy breaking down, Brexit, the environment breaking down… But we don’t like to look at this one truth that hits a little bit too close to home.
The Importance of Upbringing
Anybody who’s been to therapy will know that, regardless of what issue you present with, the first questions they will inevitably ask you will be about your childhood. Why? According to Healthline, the most crucial milestones in a child’s development occur by the age of 7. Even the great Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”
Over the last 18 years, our research at Lighthouse International Group has afforded the development of programs which help people to manage the often toxic relationships present in people’s lives, careers, and businesses. These negative influences originate from — and even continue in — the problems inherent in the lack of adequate upbringing of children, which exists in the basic unit of the fabric of our society: our own families, starting with parenting.
Think about it. How many of us could give a structured answer, off the top of our heads, to the question of what basic values and principles we were taught by our parents, as children? By contrast, we receive and retain so much more education on the fundamentals of driving a car, despite the fact that any parent will attest that raising a child is far more complex, complicated, and life-critical.
And this applies everywhere in the world; the majority of us have come from this, but because of all our so-called strong facades and precious self-image, we want to believe (or we intuit that it’s easier to believe) that we’re all okay. How does this affect our children?
100,000 Children in Care in the UK by 2025
Recently one of my mentors shared some news with us that I found absolutely shocking. It was reported in articles (like this one from the BBC) that the number of children in care in England could reach close to 100,000 in just three years’ time. This represents a 36% rise in a decade, and with that, an “unprecedented pressure” on the budget of several local authorities.
69,000 children in England were looked after by councils in 2015, however projections for the County Councils Network estimate that it could reach 95,000 by 2025.
Human Lives Matter
Most concerning to me was the clear emphasis on council budgets. Up front and centre, in several articles on the same subject, were the same facts and figures regarding fiscal health. But what of human health? Sure, there was mention of one child’s positive experience of the care system, however I hardly feel that the priority, at least from the perspective of the broader media, was actually about the children in care themselves.
Committed to caring for the fragile, innocent, and vulnerable of our global human family, we at Lighthouse International discussed this saddening news in our meetings this week. Read on to learn some of the thoughts and feelings from the Christian complement of our associates.
“A Tremendous Strain on Budgets”
Associate Partner Jai Singh was bewildered by the focus on the cash rather than the kids.
“‘That will cause a tremendous strain on budgets’. I read that, and I went, “What?” All these kids in care, £4,000 per week to keep them in care, and I feel those children are only a minuscule fraction of those in care around the world. I feel powerless, and I felt angry, because ‘a strain on a budget’ is what a child’s soul is reduced to?!! I lack the resources to help … but to be able to go, ‘Right, £10 million, globally, with the power of repentance, we can start Lighthouse Care Homes’. Where is the hope otherwise?”
The Human Cost is Crippling the World
The focus was on the lack of parenting for Asif Valiji, Associate Partner; himself a father of two.
“Through the seeking, knocking, asking, and finding alone, there’s 100,000 children, and a whole cost associated with not having parents grow up into True Parents. The cost is crippling the world.”
Feel the Human Implications
Senior Partner, Chris Nash, was also aghast at the apparent prioritisation of financial matters over any feeling of compassion for the kids.
“The lack of care! The minister for child care said that there will be budget implications, but the human implications? It’s right here in the UK, it’s right on our doorstep. Just to even look at that, it’s not numbers. To actually feel how these innocent lives are affected.”
The Biggest Damage Happens When Children are Not Removed
Interestingly, we had a different perspective from our Head Mentor at Lighthouse International Group; Paul Waugh, who raised our awareness about what experience and information was lacking from what we could read in the news. What happens to the children that are not fortunate enough to be in a safe and healthy environment? This was the insight from Paul Waugh.
“We have to distance ourselves from that toxicity, from that damage, from that negative destructiveness. There isn’t a sensible person, professional, scientist, psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist that wouldn’t tell you this: distance yourself from what is causing you damage — including taking children out of the family — all the time. We’re now going into 100,000 children that are being pulled out of families for this reason. And for me, the biggest damage isn’t done there, because they are removed. The biggest damage is somewhere in the middle, because they’re not removed. My God, they get most of the damage if they are not removed. It happens somewhere in the middle. Most of the damage happens in the middle majority. Not at the bottom end; they get removed.”
Society Ought to be Driven by a Healthy Child Standard
All in all, it is a dire situation, not least of all for the children with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Yet it is inevitable that decisions regarding the sacred lives of our children, our future, is simply reduced to the numbers by institutions and governments that are at a loss to fund their basic human rights. We are reminded that caring for our children ought to be the baseline standard for a humane society that is, according to some outlets, apparently getting better. This increase in children who lack a safe and healthy environment to grow up in is proof of the opposite!
As well as the 100,000 children predicted to go into care over the next three years, please do spare a thought for the children that aren’t afforded that option; those who have to stay in toxic and abusive 'family' situations a little longer.
Together, Each of Us Can Make a Difference
At Lighthouse International Group, and through our Christian Response Forum, our mission is to help conscientious people to overcome their obstacles to creating optimal value, in order to be able to always have the resources to say yes, where we ought to say yes, both inside and outside our front doors. We provide the mentorship, coaching and counselling to help good-hearted people who not only care about issues like this, but want to proactively care, through building the resourcefulness and resources they need, to actually do something!
But I hear you: Who, me? What can I possibly do to effect change in the lives of these children? I’m just one person. Well, let me tell you, I once thought so too! But there are other ways to think, and with that, infinite possibility in how we can begin to really respond to the things that really move us; the things we really care about and hold dear, especially when it’s the life of a child.
To learn more about how you can overcome the negative influences that obstruct your potential to make a difference, visit the Mentoring & Coaching page on the Lighthouse International website.
Have a question? To send me feedback or share your thoughts,
please do get in touch and drop me an email — I’ll be happy to hear from you.