There is a theme that has been running through my head and my heart recently: connections and community.
It started last year when a particularly grisly case was discovered in Slovakia. The only details necessary here is that a 3 year old girl died of physical abuse but her death wasn’t discovered for three years. Three years.
A bill was proposed to bring back the practice of social workers visiting the homes of all children under the age of three (when most children start going to playschool). These visits were carried out during Communism, and my mother in law said that those visits were nerve-racking.
I’m all for protecting innocent children but I also recoil at the thought of a stranger regularly coming into our home to check up on us. What particularly bothers me, however, is that the government cannot replace the role of the community.
I think back to that little girl and wonder how it is possible that no one noticed that she was missing for three years. Where were her relatives? Family friends? Neighbours? Where was her community, the people that were connected to her?
In many ways the idea of community gets buried under our celebration of independence and individualism. We’ve all had nosy old grumps or judgmental ‘friends’ who shame us for the decisions we’ve made. We get angry and hurt, and respond “mind your own damn business.” And it’s true – how many children we have, what food philosophy we follow, or what religious beliefs we adhere to (among others) are not up for other people to judge.