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My Greatest Desire as a Child
Is there anyone who can hear my voice who has respect for their fellow man and regard for human life?
You would think that one would think to himself, “How would I feel if someone took my children away? How would I feel if I was taken away from my parents and given to people I didn’t know, having no idea, when or how my nightmare would end?”
I grew up in the Twelve Tribes Community in France. I was trained to respect authority, including police, judges, and civil servants. I was taught that these people were there to protect those that do good and to punish criminals.
Throughout my childhood we faced a lot of trouble from the government in France. The authorities questioned my parents in the areas of schooling, vaccinations, discipline, and why we were not allowed to watch TV. It was obvious that they didn’t agree with the way my parents had chosen to raise my siblings and me. More than once we were surprised by dozens of policemen coming to our house, sometimes to our private bedrooms early in the morning. Doctors performed ‘check-ups’ looking for evidence of abuse, and psychiatrists questioned us to examine our state of mind. My dad was taken to jail a few times and went to court regularly. I remember my greatest desire as a child: “I just wish they would leave us alone!” I remember asking so many times, “If they are supposed to protect those who do good, why do they harass us?” I knew for a fact that my parents loved us and we were not mistreated.
In fact, my dad grew up as an orphan and had heart-wrenching stories to tell us of his upbringing. His dream, he told us often, was that he would grow up and have a big family who were together and loved each other. This came true. My brothers and sisters loved our family and our parents. Yes, my parents disciplined us when we needed it, but I never once doubted that they loved us. I knew that they wanted me to grow up right and be respectful and responsible. My dad did not tolerate disrespect, especially towards my mother. When he disciplined me for disrespect he always told me, “You don’t know how privileged you are to have a mother who loves you and cares for you. When I was your age, I wished I had a mother…” His mother died when he was only eight. We knew that we were fulfilling his dream of not only having a family who loved and cared for each other, but in being obedient to God and living a life to care for others. We respected our father and we wanted to be his pride and joy.
Now, years later, I have a family of my own. I’ve chosen to raise my children in the same way that I was raised. I knew that if I loved and disciplined them it would bear the fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). If I believed that my upbringing was wrong and abusive, I certainly would not want the same for my children. But that is not the case.
I do appreciate the fact that there is religious freedom in America (where I now live with my American husband) that allows us to train our children according to our convictions. Thankfully, my children have not had to experience some of the things I did growing up in Europe. But, what about my relatives in Europe? What about my former classmates in Germany, who had all their children taken away from them. Will anyone stand up for them?