And back to the pursuit of balance.
Two articles in the news:
1. Household merchandiser, IKEA, has come up with a speedy way to adopt homeless dogs right within their doors. You simply find one of the cardboard dogs, upload the app, and you’re on the way. It “completes your home,” they say.
2. “Growing protests over where to shelter immigrant children hits Arizona (CNN News, July 16, 2014). Unaccompanied children, primarily from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, are being sent over the border illegally by their families, who fear for their safety and well-being.
What actually completes your home? A dog? A child? A roof? Safety?
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, your physiological and safety needs come first, followed by social needs.
What can people do, who live in poverty, to provide for those needs, especially for their children? And to what rights are they entitled by their home country? If gangs threaten to either kill or conscript your children, do you have a right to send them away? And if you do, to whom should they go?
Is there an app for that?
Clearly, a country cannot absorb children who are sent over the border without some sort of plan….but did someone know there was a need for a plan like this? What if the parents come and want them back? What if their conditions improve and they want to know what we’ve done with their children?
Can you hold them in some place, seeing to their safety, without providing for esteem and self-actualization (the last two rungs on Maslow’s ladder)? What happens to children who have only the first three, but not the rest? Could we provide an institutional setting that would see to all five?
Let’s agree, for the purposes of this one-sided conversation, that you find a group of people – a large group, big enough to accommodate the 64K children already here and those yet to arrive – to take these children home. They’re willing to climb the whole ladder. What happens when parents want them back? Want to have rights to their offspring? Want to come and be with them? What do you do with an entire family structure of people, living in poverty, who ship their most precious thing and want access later?
Is it even right to send them? What parent would put a child in the back of a bus, in tattered sandals for a walk, in a truck bed, and ship them to a country whose language they do not know and whose legal system is not prepared for the heart-wrenching mess that has just landed in its southern-most states? Are they so desperate they would legally give them up? Where is their government, in all this? Who would broker such a trade?
Ah, those IKEA dogs. Prop up a poignant cardboard cutout of a pooch and wait for someone with a smart phone to touch a few screens, adopt their pet, and swiftly sweep it away to their now complete house.
What are we doing?