Kidnap: to steal a child, to seize and hold or carry off a person against that person’s will by force or fraud (Webster’s dictionary definition)

Trump’s Zero Tolerance Border Policy. Let’s call it what it is, a kidnapping of thousands. Our government, like the definition, has stolen by force or fraud, children, even babies. They simply took them away from their parent or parents.  They have traumatized thousands of youngsters creating long-term harm. The younger they are the more lasting the trauma.

Those who planned, organized, carried out and continue it are criminals. They should be charged and punished. There were no Amber Alerts, neighborhood searches, radio, TV alerts asking people to join in finding the stolen child. Often these children were taken away in the dead of night.  Why unless they knew what they were conducting was wrong. Simply that – a crime.  What if the baby or child stolen was yours or your grandchild, or a friend’s? Would you turn away, or even worse, condone it making excuses. This criminal act is a stain on our nation, and on us.   It betrays our national humanitarian values.

Detention camps for children? For babies?! For God’s sake America, wake up! Is this what we are becoming? Child abusers? Kidnappers?


Forgive us, for we know not what we are doing

A woman was beating her infant-toddler in a stroller in front of our gallery. This is a busy tourist destination. One of my colleagues rushed out the door. “Stop that right now,” she said, as others stood by in silence. We are responsible for our children’s behavior, and yet we punish them for our sins, and have for centuries. "Father, forgive us, for we do not know what we are doing."


Like a Bruegel Painting

I wonder what good it will do to repeat decades of research on mother-infant separation when current research is systematically shredded, manipulated, twisted, repressed, bought, fabricated, intentionally confused, in a world where confusing has become the preferred policy. After all, political propaganda is a powerful form of control. My favorite is the report that Building 7 had collapsed on 9/11 twenty-minutes before the building collapsed. The first irony is that Building 7 could be seen behind the BBC reporter describing its collapse. The greater irony is that no one seemed to care who wrote the script? Cut. On to the next media event.

Strategically separating children from parents to achieve a political goal is planned, intentional torture of innocent children. A 2017 US Government Report describes the widespread use of separating families as a matter of policy, pre Trump. Since 2005, as a matter of procedure and policy, border agents routinely separate children and families intentionally, as punishment or consequences, through what the DHS, (the Department of Homeland Security) call its Consequence Delivery System. These consequences are meant to deter future migration, often regardless of international protection or other humanitarian concerns. Who cares? A few thousand kids? They call it collateral damage, often a small price to pay to achieve a political goal. (I often wonder, for those who wrote the script, were the lives lost on 9/11 collateral damage?)


The Child Creates the Father



Recently, my son, now 40+, and I shared a few thoughts about relationships.


Ten Nevers One Always

Of course, never hit, spank or physically punish a child; time out is a punishment. Understand instead that you are equally to blame. When frustrations rage, invite empathy for yourself and the child. Look for a story that will lead, invite and encourage what needs to be done.

Never blame a child. Observe and share together natural consequences.

Never shame a child. Describe how you are feeling in ways that focus attention on, as Marshal Rosenberg, the founder of nonviolent communication, would say, will make your life wonderful.


Setting Boundaries

Does being child-centered mean the little darlings can do whatever they want? What are boundaries and why do we need them? ‘For their own good,’ of course. Safety aside, for their ‘good’ or ours?

This challenge of setting boundaries is pervasive. Digging deeper, ‘setting boundaries’ in the parent-child relationship surface when what I call the ‘natural modeled-boundaries’ break down. This is when natural attunement, the feeling of surfing together, what David Bohm might call shared meaning, stumbles is impaired, broken or betrayed.

A passage in Joe Pearce’s early works comes to mind, describing young African mothers waiting for hours to see the white doctor, holding their tiny infants close with no diapers. Pausing for a moment, the doctor mused, how strange this was, do diaper - and even stranger, not one mother was soiled. So she asked, "how do you know when your baby needs to go,” she asked? The mother replied, “how do you know when you need to go?” Who needs boundaries when natural attunement guides the way?


Is Abortion Murder?

One must wonder why the ‘abortion is murder,’ slogan is in the air. On Friday, May 4th, Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds (R), who has referred to abortion as “murder,” signed the country’s most restrictive abortion bill into law, outlawing the procedure once a “heartbeat” is detected, which is usually at about six weeks — a time when many people do not yet know they are pregnant.

Given the moral failure of the current administration, taking the high-ground, implicit in the forced reexamination of Roe vs. Wade is a neat strategy. Why? The underlying assumptions are so entrenched, personal and reflexive – and therefore polarized - it renders this moral-ethical distraction a perfect rally to gather support from the base.

It is important to note that the clock is ticking on this thorny issue. Professor Carl Djerassi, an Austrian-born Bulgarian-American chemist, novelist, and playwright, best known for his contribution to the development of oral contraceptive pill claims that advances in fertility treatment may soon render sex purely recreational with large numbers of babies in the Western world born through IVF. He believes the Pill and abortion will become obsolete. Men and women will choose to freeze their eggs and sperm when young, before being sterilized. No child will be unplanned or unwanted. End of controversy. But what about today?


Respect or Overindulgent

I often wonder; what is the difference between spoiling a child and honoring their reality? Where does respect end and overindulgence begin? If Carly doesn’t like something on her plate, should we insist she eat it? Does respecting her necessarily imply that we should prepare Mac & Cheese every night because that is what she says she likes and therefore wants? When she says ‘no’ to getting ready for bed should we wait until she is ready or become indignant; “How dare you talk to me that way. I say it is time for bed!”


Natural Giving

Years ago I described two feelings or perceptions of self or me-ness. The first is a physical proprioceptive-self. That is, the feeling of this body separate from and moving in the larger environment. And, there is an autobiographical-self, the accumulation of associative past experiences, pleasers and pain, fears and joys, the latent memory of which stimulate or trigger, the re-membered past in the present. And, of course, the abstract intellect then creating personal images of self, that is me, from these collected ghost images. Though discrete these two ebb and flow moment by moment, forming what we call our social ego.

self image