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Children are a gift from God to love and cherish
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If you keep reading after the first paragraph or two, you may find yourself checking to see if another author might have penned this column. I usually steer clear of politics and current and local events, but, once in a while something gets me stirred up. It takes a lot to get my feathers ruffled about something and even more for me to actually say something about the matter, but the first thing I do is commit it to prayer before I say anything. I try to be careful about forming an opinion and sharing it until I've got all the facts and analyzed it from every possible angle.

Sometimes things just keep bugging me and I find putting it on paper seems to help. On a few rare occasions and only after a lot of thought and prayer, I share it with my readers.

What has me all stirred up is the growing number of children and babies dying due to abuse or left in hot cars. Maybe I've been reading and watching too much news because the more I hear of yet another case, the more stirred up I get.
I love kids with all my heart, no matter how big or little, color or race and it breaks my heart to hear of another child being harmed, abused, suffering or dying.

Two recent stories have caught my attention and deeply touched my heart. Both cases involved babies that were allegedly abused by one or both parents and died as a result. One involved a 2-month-old infant placed on life support after doctors discovered multiple broken ribs, broken collarbone and bleeding on the brain. The baby remained on life support for three months with no signs of improvement and the parents finally agreed to terminate life support on Aug. 8.

Another case involves an 8-month-old baby who was abused and punished by her mother and the mother's boyfriend. What is even more horrifying in this case is the mother admitted to “punishing” the baby with a belt on numerous occasions. How and why would you “punish” a baby who depends on you for its every need and only asks to be loved? If you can't be responsible as a parent to care for this child, then, at the very least, you owe thus child enough respect to admit that you failed as a parent and take responsibility for your actions.

Maybe I'm too sensitive when it comes to babies and children but I just cannot begin to comprehend how something like this happens. In my opinion, there is no justifiable excuse for this to happen, period.

I find it hard to believe anybody would intentionally leave a child in a hot car or abuse an innocent, defenseless child, let alone a baby, but it happens. It happens because people don't have their priorities right -- simple as that.

When there's a baby or child in your care it’s your responsibility to put everything else aside and focus on them. No excuses!

If you bring a child into this world, your priorities and your whole world change, but only for a while. Before you know it, they've grown up. A child is innocent and depends on you for everything and doesn't deserve to be neglected, abused and unloved. It's your place to love unconditionally, nurture, guide, teach, encourage and support that child. Parenthood can be the best experience of your life so don't destroy it.

If you can't be responsible as a parent to sacrifice your own wants and needs to give this child the love it needs, be responsible enough to ask for help. Nobody will judge you or think less of you.

Babies and children are a gift from God -- the Bible says they're just on loan and He chooses us to be parents. God's word also says it takes a village to raise a child. I guess that explains why I'm so compassionate about this matter-to be a voice for them.

Have you ever gotten down on their level and seen things from their perspective? When you're only 2- or 3-feet-tall things look a lot different. Babies and children depend on us for almost everything -- what they wear, what they eat, caring for them, nurturing them, teaching them the alphabet, wiping little behinds, runny noses, making them feel better, chasing away monsters, making birthdays special, turning an ordinary day into an awesome day, -- and the time flies by too fast.

Being a parent is perhaps the most rewarding thing that can happen to a person -- it isn't always easy and it means you make a lot of sacrifices, but it's only temporary. As a mom and grandmother, I'd do it all again without giving it a second thought. When my children and grandchildren are with me nothing else matters -- life revolves around them, doing what they want, seeing things through their eyes, rediscovering and enjoying the simple things of life. All that other stuff can wait because they're only little once

If they're in the car with me, the radio goes off, their car seats are where I can glance over my shoulder or check the rearview to see them, talk to them, sing and make sure they are okay at all times. They are my little passengers after all. So, I find it hard to understand how anybody can “forget them?” If you make them a priority and stay focused on them you won't. No drink, phone call, errand or anything else is more important than your babies. Whatever it is can wait but your children cannot.

I hope I didn't step on too many toes but this has been weighing heavy on my heart and I felt a need to share my thoughts in hopes that it might stir you as it has me. Let's all slow down, get our priorities right and focus on what's important -- not ourselves but our future -- our children and our responsibility to love unconditionally.

Beth Rowe is a columnist who sees the world around her and tells it like it is. She may be reached at