Being a Parent is All About Being Blamed …

… for things you can and can’t control.

Flu leaves a 4-year-old girl blind in Iowa”

What stands out to me in this article is the way the article will begin to approach blaming Jade’s mother for what happened, and then back away.

This little girl didn’t get the flu shot this year!

… But the family is not an anti-vaccination family.

But the flu shot can prevent complications like this from happening!

… But it’s only 40 – 60% effective at preventing the flu.

But you should always get flu shots for your kids!

… But this mother did get her kids flu shots, last March, and mistakenly believed they “were good for a whole year.”

But the flu changes every year!

… And this year was a very bad year for flu for kids, and the complication that happened to this little girl is vanishingly rare.

I understand that they are trying to make this article into a sort of public service announcement reminding parents to get flu shots and other vaccinations for their kids. And that kind of announcement is good. What’s not good is the implication that if you do everything right, you can prevent freak bad things from happening to your child. This is a very rare complication. It didn’t happen because this mom failed to get her kid a flu shot. It happened because we live in a fallen world. In this fallen world, freak bad things happen. People get sick. This is the definition of an imperfect world. This incident is more analogous to a plane falling on your head, than to failing adequately to provide for your child.

Every mom does this to herself, too, by the way. Jade’s mom says of the early days when her daughter had a mild fever,

“She was running around, having fun, eating normally, asking for snacks,” her mother remembers. “It was just — it’s a little bug, she’ll get over it.”

Phillips thinks back to those four days, December 19 through December 23, and wracks her brain for something that might have told her what was about to happen.”There wasn’t any sign that would’ve told me that something was seriously wrong with her,” she said.

Ibid

I once had a similar experience. My then 2-year-old got a fever. All he wanted to do was rest on me. I thought about taking him to the pediatrician, but I knew exactly what they would say. “If the fever hasn’t gone away in three days, call us again.”

On day 3, we had difficulty waking him. It was a Sunday (of course), so instead of the pediatrician, we took him to an urgent care clinic. The clinic said to take him to the ER.

He turned out to have a fairly advanced case of bacterial pneumonia.

He hadn’t even been coughing.

We ended up with a 2-day stay in the hospital and he was fine. But what if he hadn’t been? I’m sure I (and lots of other people) would have been asking, “How could I not have caught this?” But there was no way I could have. It just seemed like a normal fever.

8 thoughts on “Being a Parent is All About Being Blamed …

    1. Ha ha, that is true of a lot of things, isn’t it? Literally almost every worthwhile thing I’ve ever done, I would never have embarked on it had I known how long it would take and how much difficulty would be involved.

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  1. Benjamin Ledford

    I think a big part of the blame response is our fear. We’re afraid of that happening to us, but if we can identify something that they did wrong that caused it then we can prevent it happening to us by behaving differently. But it just isn’t so.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mrs B and I are currently reading Job and that book is just filled with “well, if you were living right then all this bad stuff wouldn’t have happened to you”. Some friends they turned out to be!

    But it reminds me that, as you put it, that we live in a fallen world and some things ARE out of our control. I guess that is where learning to trust God comes into play. It is easy to say and type out, but not so easy to live out when going through…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that is so true! I am so glad God gave us Job. Otherwise, simple, inescapable logic would indeed dictate that whenever something bad happens to us, it’s our own fault. Especially since few people can claim to be as blameless as Job.

      I once had a conversation with a Hindu lady where she was really pressing me on this. “So you don’t believe in karma? Don’t you think there is justice in the universe?” etc. (not those exact words, of course) After that I became convinced that the philosophy of Job’s friends is the default human reaction when confronted with suffering. We really need the book of Job as an antidote to that kind of thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

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