For the Sake of Children? Theology, Care and Children
Annemie Dillen
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“For the sake of the children,” thus, the author prefaces her article. The message is obvious: for the past centuries of theologizing, children had simply been lumped with the adult world to whom theology has been addressed. But this is structural injustice since children as a group have their own needs. And methodologies for adults would simply not work for them, although any advocacy for adults can with modification be applicable to children. Subsequently, the author admits to the complexities involved in pastoral practices and doing theologies about children. She suggests four points of discussion: ethicization, the burdening of “children as the future of the society,” intersectionality, and parentification. These four points are convincingly argued in the paper. Summarizing the quadruple quandary are the following questions: a) can parents legitimize “punishment” for the sake of bringing up a disciplined child; b) can children be considered only because of their potentials or for who they can be in the future and not for what they are in the present; c) can children be simply confined to one characterization; d) can children be given - “some” parental responsibilities— or letting them do whatever they can contribute for the welfare of the family. This article is a must read to gain a new perspective on children— far beyond romanticizing and/or condescending on them.

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