The tragedy of Lashanda Armstrong clings to me like rain-drenched clothes on a blistery day; no matter what I do I can't shake the chill that it gives me when I think about it. Lasahanda along with three of children 5,2 and 11 months of age drowned. The 10-year old managed to roll down the window and escape. We shake our heads and wonder how could a mother drive her minivan carrying her four children into an icy body of water?
It seems like an unspeakable horror to intentionally harm children, but I'm beginning to wonder how many of us have a little of Lashanda in us because for far too many of us, people are possessions--things we think we own like our homes, our cars etc. We're quick to claim my and mine reminding me of the self-indulgent immature nature of a child who becomes obsessed with something she thinks is hers.
Back in the day, we chuckled at the absurdity of our parents words: "I brought you into this world and I'll take you out," because we never thought that our parents would actually kill us. And maybe back then our parents spoke out of frustration and/or fear, but today with our country's economic instability and people's stress levels at all-time highs, there are far too many parents that take these words to heart.
The Lashanda Armstrong case is not an isolated news story. There seems to be a disturbing trend of parents killing children before killing themselves,and in the case of married couples killing their spouses as well. Lashanda had been arguing with the three younger children's father on that fated day. Why didn't she leave the children with Their father?
Even in death the problems of My and Mine continued when the children's father, Jean Pierre decided against Lashanda's family wishes to bury His children with Their mother. Tension was thick as the relatives of Lashanda felt that were not welcome at the children's funeral.
So, often in custody battles that I've witnessed I often hear parents argue about MY children who belong to ME because they are MINE. There's no longer a thought of what WE should do in the best interest of OUR children. Even when they're not fighting, parents are possessive, and it's not healthy.
The words of Khalil Gibran captures the essence of parenthood.And if parents take these words to heart, there will be no room for My and Mine.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, 'Speak to us of Children.'
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.