Why do bad things happen to kids?

I could cite you statistics on what is happening, where it’s happening, and how often. I could even tell you countless stories; but I still couldn’t tell you why. It’s hard to know what to do. While some of us might feel paralyzed in the face of the innocent suffering, others, like PA Distance senior Molly D., walk directly toward it.

When you first meet Molly, you probably wouldn’t guess she’s fiercely courageous. She’s an optimist, a pianist and a poet. She has a sweet and generous smile. Her smile persists even though she’s seen the reality of suffering. Indeed, for someone who has seen as much as Molly, she maintains boundless hope in her eyes.

Molly, immensely blessed to have grown up in safety, has long been a comforter to the abused. Her cousin, who lives down the road, adopts and fosters children from all kinds of backgrounds, and Molly was a babysitter for their family.

“I got the chance to spend time with kids who have been through the system,” she told me. “One girl had been in over fifteen foster homes, in her young life, before my mom’s cousin adopted her.” There are two other cousins her immediate and extended family care for, and Molly goes with them to their counseling sessions each week.

Molly has witnessed things that have made her mature beyond her years, and instead of freezing under the weight of this reality, Molly has stepped up to the plate. As she told me about all these kids she’s known, listened to, and cared for, I asked how she handles the weight of all of this.

“Oh, it’s directed my whole purpose,” she said plainly. “I want to be somebody that can hear their stories and help them overcome the things they couldn’t overcome on their own. These kids deserve a voice, and that’s what I want to give them.” I was curious how she would do that.

“I want to be somebody that can hear their stories and help them overcome the things they couldn’t overcome on their own.”

“Sometimes the world makes it harder to help than hurt,” she explained. She understands some of the ins and outs of the system, and is hoping to enter a position where she can create real change. She’s wasting no time, already taking college classes to work toward a career in child psychology.

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In the meantime, before Molly becomes the renowned Dr. Molly, she will continue caring for the kids around her. “Selfless love with no strings attached is what kids need most,” she told me. It’s the simple things, like encouraging her cousin to write poetry, and getting them a journal. This year, the two of them entered the Creative Communication Poetry Book and were both featured. For now, that’s enough.

“Selfless love with no strings attached is what kids need most.”

We may never know why bad things happen to kids, and we may always feel overwhelmed by how, what, and where. When it comes to discerning what our response should be, I’m thankful the world has Molly, as both an example and a presence.