Thursday, May 21, 2009

Are Parents In Control?

Yesterday, I was skimming the headlines and was captivated by the story of the Minnesota boy who is refusing cancer treatments. He and his mother have disappeared and there is a manhunt for them. Today, I read that they may be heading to Mexico for alternative treatments. The boy himself says he doesn't want chemo, but as a minor (and one that apparently can't read) the state steps in on his behalf.

A judge has ruled that he must return for treatments because there is a high chance that the chemo will work and he will recover. The judge also said that if it looked like treatment wouldn't help him, he would not force it on him. There is an arrest warrant out for his mother and when they find them, the boy will be placed in foster care. Here's a link to their story.

In some ways, I find myself having compassion for this mother. In the face of danger, it's natural instinct to want to protect your child from pain. We have a friend who is undergoing his second round of treatment for lymphoma. He told us the treatment was so horrible, if he didn't have a wife and kids he would have told them to forget it. I've had the feeling that I just want to take my kids and run away. And it seems that we should be able to make decisions as a family based on our situations, values and beliefs. If they all agree he should try alternative treatment and not spend his life in a hospital, isn't that their right? In her mind, she is doing what's best for her son and what is in line with her religious beliefs.

But in this case, the pain is unavoidable: either life on the run, dying of cancer or having chemo. There will be legal consequences to her actions. However, what's best for him can't be running from authorities while suffering from cancer, or be placed in a foster home or have his mom in jail when they get caught and have to face forced treatment alone.

I don't like the government telling us what we can and can't do with our kids. Unfortunately, in cases like this, it seems necessary. If she was holding a gun to his head, they would have to act to save his life. Is this any different? If we let her take him away, do we have to accept people abusing their kids or not educating them?

I will be praying for this boy and his mom. They are in a difficult situation and obviously are hurting. I know that God values life and that should move us in the direction of fighting for it. What do you think?

Colossians 3:22
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

1 comment:

The Hansen's said...


Thank you for writing from your heart! I have just read through your may posts and did you ever take me back down memory lane. Now I stand here 18 years later wondering where those years went. The days of daily parenting our daughter are quickly coming to and end and I am finding myself remembering all the times I came up short as a mom. I am thankful the Lord has always had his hands on Hannah's heart. Left to myself she wounldn't have turned out the way she has. Keep trusting Jesus as you love and parent these little lives for Him!