As a career nanny who has spent half of my life caring for other people’s children and now has the privilege of caring for my own, the recent New York tragedy resulting in two young and precious children being murdered by their trusted nanny is one I’m still trying to process.
As the headlines shifted blame back and forth to the parents who reportedly didn’t notice minor changes in the nanny’s personality to those who knew the nanny and saw significant changes, yet didn’t report them, there is a push for increased scrutiny of caregivers and more rigorous background screening of them prior to hiring.
Sadly, however, even the best background screening and evidence collected proving that a nanny hasn’t committed a previous horrendous act is no guarantee that she won’t commit one in the future- or even that she hasn’t committed one in the past. Leading parents to believe they do only perpetuates a false sense of security. By their very nature, background screenings are done in hindsight, which is always 20/20.
I can only imagine the questions, doubts and second guesses flooding the parent’s hearts and minds as they grieve the loss of their children.
How could we not have known?
How could we make such a poor choice?
Are we horrible parents?
Is this our fault?
As parents, there are many things we can and do doubt. We may doubt we’re making the right educational choices for our children. We may doubt our abilities to parent in a Godly way. We may doubt our faith and therefore question the validity of passing it onto our children. At times, we may even doubt our parenting is even faith led at all.
While there are many things we can and even should doubt as parents, perhaps a decision to let our child sleepover a friend’s house who we don’t know very well or the ability of our 4-year-old to make consistently logical decisions, there is one thing we need not doubt: that God is always with us (Matthew 28:18-20).
We live in a fallen word, riddled with evil acts, the most horrific kind often the most unpredictable. While it can be tempting to turn to fear-based parenting as a faith-based alternative, doing so offers no peace and no real protection.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.