by Thu Van
When I started these words, thinking about the things I'm going to write down, I can't help but feel my chest go tight and achey, my heart constricted and my head almost exploding.
I can't even count the times I've been having these feelings in the past few days, since I read about two so-called babysitters who cruelly tortured two children at their private child care center in HCM City.
I don't want to recall it, but still have to: in a video posted by local Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Le Thi Dong Phuong, 31 and Nguyen Le Thien Ly, 18, viciously slap and hit, grab and shake, and pinch noses to make two little children eat faster. The little ones try to swallow the food, in lots of tears.
In the video, Ly lifts up the little girl and dunks her into a large water drum, despite her pitiful cries. And I can't get out of my head the image of the girl's quivering little hands trying to grab Ly's shirt, begging, crying, in vain.
As much as I feel an intense anger and detest the two babysitters, I even feel more frustrated at the parents of the children who had to suffer from those inhumane acts.
And as much as I feel annoyed by the mass media and Facebook users who continuously re-post such terrible images, spreading the pain again and again, I still feel an endless and unspeakable irritation at those parents.
The mother of the 21-month-old boy tortured in the video said she felt shocked and terribly angry at what she saw, and that she wanted to talk to the faces of those two babysitters.
She also said her son had been showing signs of fear and didn't want to go to child care every morning.
Meanwhile, the mother of the little girl said sometimes she saw bruises on her daughter's body. And very often, the little one would wake up at night, crying and panicked. And she said she and her husband could not understand why.
Why? Isn't it so funny these parents did not have the guts to ask why such things happen to their children? The little girl has been going to the nursery for one year. And the little boy for three months.
The mass media, and almost everyone I know, keep on pouring their worst words onto the two babysitters, and expressing pitiful feelings for the parents. No one asks what the parents thought about the signals from their little ones. No one asks why they were so unforgivably negligent?
Don't they talk to their children at home? Don't they hold their children in their arms? Don't they touch their children's bodies and feel their children's skin?
The most basic and indispensable instinct of a human – of any creature on earth – is to protect their babies. We can virtually see the need to be loved and protected in the eyes of the little ones, as if that is the thing to be taken for granted. It's an undeniable fact, a crystal clear truth.
Why can't these parents tell that their children were having some problems, not to mention some serious problems?
In many previous child abuse cases that happened in the country in the past few years, most parents were poor migrant workers and did not have enough financial resources to send their children to well-established private schools and do not have permanent residential documents to allow them to send their children to State kindergartens, where everything is deemed "better".
The parents, in this case, are not poor workers. Nothing is mentioned about their income conditions.
In previous cases, many people blamed the authorities for their loose management of non-state kindergartens, which they said was the main cause for uncontrolled child abuse and torture. Some blame the lack of kindergartens in industrial zones or large scale production factories for the abuse of migrant workers' children.
While I would agree with such a statement to some extent, I would also say parents should be, and must be, the first people to find a way for their children to be safe and loved.
Talk to them, every day. Tell them no one is allowed to hurt them.
Children are our future. They will be the next generations, the future leaders, who can change bad things in society into good things, who will turn unfairness into fairness, who will make voiceless people be heard, who will be the foundation for wealth, prosperity and the strength of the country, of every country. Bringing them up well, loving them enough, protecting them perfectly and providing good education for them must first be the utmost important things for any parents, then the authority.
Poor or rich, well-educated or not, all those who want to become parents should think carefully about how they would raise their children. Be ready before you give birth to a baby, financially, emotionally, and offering skillful parenting.
In Viet Nam, many people still think you should have children when you get to a certain age, regardless of your occupation or financial condition. Some people say you can't make one put aside the desire to be a mother and father and wait until you're rich.
Is such desire more important than the safety, the happiness, and proper education of your children?
I beg those who are parents to take care of their children properly. Feel any unusual signs from them. I beg those who want to become a mother or a father, be ready before you decide on becoming one. Because, raising a child is the very thing in the world that needs the correct finances, time spent and countless efforts. — VNS