Dismont: Paramount & Community Responsibility

November 13, 2018

Martha Dismont Thumb“The recent media information and investigations with regards to the care and treatment of children should have us all extraordinarily concerned,” Executive Director of the Family Centre Martha Dismont said, adding that “the concern for the well-being of children is necessary, paramount, and a community responsibility.”

“Clearly, investigations need to take place before we each become judge and jury. However, if history has taught us anything, we know that if it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and waddles everywhere, it is likely a duck,” Ms Dismont said.

“We can clearly see the evidence in our community, particularly with our young adult males, that care and good treatment hasn’t been somebody’s priority. These issues are more than concerning, they are indicative of a much larger and dangerous problem in our community.”

She continued, “Regardless of the untoward issues that we face in Bermuda, and we know that many other jurisdictions face similar problems, our number one concern should be whether we have the capacity to overcome our challenges.

“The recent media stories not only highlight possible maltreatment of children, but also highlight the behavior of adults towards each other” and the possibility that “adults may be circling the wagons to protect themselves.”

“We are all adults, placed in positions of trust when it comes to protecting and growing our children well. We are breaking these revered responsibilities every day when we choose to ignore the moral and legal requirements of these positions of trust. We break promises to children when we break promises to each other.

“We break promises of trust to children, when we as adults forget that we are the adults and are expected to lead with guidance, nurturance and patience. We forget that our behavior will be reflected in those who come behind us.”

She continued, “When the Inter-Agency Committee for Children and Families [IAC] polled social service agencies in 2010 to ask what the number one issue facing families in service was, they reported that it was ‘unhealthy relationships due to unaddressed multi-generational trauma’.

“During the recent IAC and Family Centre’s conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs], we unearthed the many faces of ‘ACEs’ in our community, and the unaddressed trauma that exists here continues to ‘leak out’ in these areas of trust.

“We have evidence in our community of the lack of priority on the issues that will make the most difference in growing our children well, being responsible adults in positions of trust and living the behavior that we want to see in our children.

“When we model behavior of promises not kept, deflecting blame on others, taking out one’s frustration on innocent children, not caring to right the wrongs, we discover that these behaviors are not just in homes of families who have struggled over the years to parent well, but it is also behavior found in public places of trust.

“The concern for the well-being of children is necessary, paramount, and a community responsibility. This was bestowed upon us when we became adults. It should not be a choice. Whether we choose to walk the path of being a responsible, courageous, transparent and occasionally vulnerable adult is about choosing a genuine and authentic ‘way of being.’

“Children will never be cared for well until more of us choose this ‘way of being’, with each other and in the lives of children. It is the only way that we can get this right and help our children on their rightfully deserved pathway to becoming positive and contributing members of society.”

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