Over three weeks ago I spoke about some of the differences between the pressures your child faces today and the threats and pressures that you faced when growing up. I told you that you needed to understand the new pressures and dangers and prepare your children for them. I even spoke about and predicted how ISIS recruits your child by social media.
Sadly, and alarmingly, an event of the nature of which I spoke has occurred. Three teenage girls, two fifteen year olds and one sixteen year old, left England. Next they were spotted in Turkey. Finally they were seen crossing from Turkey to Syria to become ISIS brides.
These are your daughters, your friends daughters, and my daughters.
These are daughters of parents just like you and me. Now these young daughters have been exploited because their parents did not see the threat. They were exploited because there existed a chasm, no matter how small, between the minds of these children and the knowledge of the parent about their children.
This is not about gangs invading Langford. It’s no even about drugs in your school. As serious as those topics are, they are dwarfed by this absolute cataclysmic disaster. These young girls are lost to ISIS. Now the grieving parents must understand that they will never see their daughters again.
ISIS has skilled psychologists and social media experts. Consequently, and as I warned before, they are targeting your children.
Nobody knows exactly what these terrorists said to these girls. But what is evident and an inescapable conclusion is that ISIS captured their hearts and minds. Maybe ISIS took advantage of a seed of discontent within them. Or perhaps, ISIS exploited some childish naivete that made these girls think that they were doing something noble. Now there are consequences of which their young minds could not understand, or even conceive.
These girls will not find the life they were conned into believing existed for them.
The reality is that these girls will not be viewed and treated as the heroines they believed they would be. They will not lead their lives sworn to noble causes. Instead, they will be regarded as fools by ISIS. First, they will be married off to one or more vulgar and inhumane fighters. Eventually, they will die a frightening, but perhaps welcomed death.
In the meantime though, this is their new reality. It’s a reality they will come to realize from the brutality of their treatment. They will live in terror each day and might even eventually be publicly beheaded as a statement to the world.
This is what terrorism is all about.
These girls’ lives are over. Now, all they can do is regret their decisions more and more with each passing day. Now they are a “prize”. They are a symbol to the world, a symbol which ISIS will use to further terrify humanity.
Now, their parents’ hopes and dreams for their children have been replaced with constant nightmares. Now, instead of daughters, the parents only have a thousand, “If I had only done this”.
Although I can never claim to understand exactly what these girls and their parents are feeling, I can tell you that I am weeping as I write these words. I am weeping, because while not knowing, I nevertheless understand their anguish.
You must know your child’s heart and mind and you must monitor those things every day.
This is so very important to understand that I beg you to listen to what I have to say here. Then you need to repeat it to every aunt, uncle, grandparent or parent you know. There is no such thing as quality time, there are only quantities of time. Enough quantity will yield quality.
You can only know your child by being with your child.
- You need to come together as a family whenever possible.Then you know your child feels family love and support.
- You need to eat at the same table together every night. And you need to do this without cell phones or television. Then you emphasize the strong bonds of “family” that will help keep him/her grounded.
- You need to know where they spend their time. Then you can determine if they are headed toward trouble.
- You need to know who their friends are. Then you can decide if these are the types of individuals who you want influencing your child.
- You need to inquire into their feelings. Then you can validate those feelings through discussion and understand and guide them.
- You need to guide without being critical. Then they will not run from you
- You need to speak to them with respect. Then you can insist that you be spoken to with respect.
- You need to hug them every day and tell them every day how important they are to you and how much you love them.
- You need to show them love and respect by your example of love and respect to them and to your significant other.
If you believe some re-schedulable meeting more important than dinner with your child, then imagine food put on a plate with your child not being able to be present to eat it. Imagine never attending another school soccer game or hockey game because there no longer exists a son or daughter to wear the school uniform. Imagine never seeing your child’s smile again or being able to say, “Goodnight sweetheart”.
Grandparents and uncles and aunts are not substitutes for parents. They are adjuncts to parents.
Your child’s future will be decided by your vigilance. Your dedication and example will probably be the deciding factor.
This blog, through its various articles will show you the warning signs of your child being recruited by gangs, of your child being recruited by terrorists and of your child becoming involved with drugs. It will show you these things. But they will do you no good until you begin to understand your child. You need to understand his/her heart, and begin understand his/her head.
Parents, you need to wake up and deal with the new world. You cannot simply deny it. Don’t ever have to say, “If I had only done this“.
Readers, if you feel any sense of responsibility to your friends, to your neighbors, or even to strangers, you need to S C R E A M this to them and you need make your voices heard via Twitter, via Facebook, via Reddit or whatever social media platform you might have available to you.