Welfare of children
Over the last few days safety of children has come to the forefront anew with the Penn State report regarding the sexual abuse of children by a member of the coaching staff in the football program at the highly respected university. The Freeh report cited a “reverence” for the Penn State football program creating an environment where reverence overruled concern for the welfare of children. What was not stated explicitly was the role of the football program in large universities as a profit center for the university. A recent article (http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/06/20/which-football-and-basketball-programs-produce-the-largest-profits/) reported in the profitability of NCAA football programs. Penn State was third on that list generating over 50 million dollars in profit for the university. Implied in the Freeh report was that the university football program functions as an enormous cash engine for universities such as Penn State. Protecting that profit center trumped concern for children. When we consider this kind of analysis we are shocked that respected leaders would place their monetary objectives above the welfare of children.
As is so frequently the case, it is always easier to be appalled at the sinfulness of others. However, in my own life and my experience in ministering to children over 30 years, we all participate in this kind of tragedy. So often, we men place our careers, monetary objectives and financial goals ahead of our children. We work too many hours, travel more than we should and invest ourselves in our careers rather than investing ourselves in the spiritual development of our children. Our desire for a nicer house, better vacation and increased wealth cause commitment to our work to trump God’s other priorities for our lives. While God has created us to be fruitful and enjoy the fruit of our labor, He has also given us a unique responsibility to lead and pastor our families and our children. Events at Penn State can serve as a reminder of our need to maintain God’s priorities in our lives, particularly regarding the precious children He has entrusted to our care.