That is the opening sentence of The Kids Are (Not) All Right, the column in today's New York Times by Charles M. Blow.
Considering just some of the former - among the countries examined America's children have the highest rate of children overweight - not necessarily something about which we want to brag "we're #1!"
From the UNICEF report, titled "Child Well-Being in Rich Countries" Blow notes
the United States once again ranked among the worst wealthy countries for children, coming in 26th place of 29 countries included. Only Lithuania, Latvia and Romania placed lower, and those were among the poorest countries assessed in the study.Some of the statistics from CDF, which are presented on a daily basis, include:
2 mothers die in childbirth.
4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.
5 children or teens commit suicide.
7 children or teens are killed by firearms.
I will come back to the last of those in moment.
As a teacher by profession, I also noted the last statistic:
16,244 public school students are suspended. (that is based on a 180 day school year).
There is much more.
It is clear that for all our rhetoric about the importance of our children, our public policy does not reflect that, not when we consider ALL of our children, including those children of "those people" - the poor, the minorities.
We have the highest teen fertility rate, and among the highest infant mortality rates. We have one of the lowest child immunization rates and lowest average birth weights.Our children as compared to those of other nations do not feel as positively about their own lives.
There are so many statistics one can cite, either from UNICEF or from CDF.
We have the third highest homicide rate among developed countries, according to Unicef. And according to a December Gallup poll, a third of parents fear for their children’s physical safety at school, and most believe it’s likely that a shooting like the one in Newtown, Conn., could happen in their communities.And yet, despite Newtown, we saw the abominable vote today in the United States Senate.
Blow does comment on that.
We do not truly care for all our children.
We might note the upset at Newtown, even as we ignore the ongoing slaughter of young people who live in our inner cities or those who are in environments that might be white and middle class in the suburbs but where firearms are not properly secured.
Consider this: Virginia Tech is now 6 years past. Since then more than 187,000 Americans have died from guns.
Consider this: corporate profits are at an all-time high, but childhood poverty and malnourishment are both increasing despite the wealth that is being accumulated - by some, who are somehow able to do so at the expense of the wellbeing of other, including many of our children.
Read the Blow piece.
Pass it on.
Then remember these words from Hubert Humphrey which once again I will offer:
It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.We need look no further than the dawn of life, the children. The statistics do not lie, by that standard we fail the moral test.
Yesterday the United States Senate compounded that failure when the lost lives of the 2o children of Newtown, the ongoing loss of 7 children/teens per day to guns violence, were insufficient to move a sufficient number of Senators to take the most minimal of actions to curb that violence.
Blow reminds us that the failure is of our politicians and also of our parents.
We need smart and courageous parenting, as well as policies that invest time and money, love and understanding in our children.That is true.
He then concludes with this warning:
Failures sown one season will surely bloom the next.Yesterday the United States Senate failed.
That is notable.
As a result more children will die unnecessarily. So will adults.
It is not the only way we fail our children.
Consider that, as I repeat those words:
It is not the only way we fail our children.
To fail our children is to condemn our society as immoral, for it is our responsibility to nurture and protect them.
Charles M. Blow has written words that should remind us of our ongoing failures.
The problem is identified. The problem is named.
Now will we as a society demand that we do something about it?