A Tampa toddler died Monday after her “very busy” father forgot about her and left the 18-month-old little girl in his jeep for hours.
The story made national headlines after the child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
‘It appears it was a very busy morning for the family. They have several other children as well and in an effort to get everybody where they needed to go, the toddler was left in the backseat,’ said Steve Hegarty with the Tampa Police Department.
The mother called the police at around 6:30 p.m. after discovering the child in their Jeep.
Tampa police said the death appears to be accidental, and there are no signs of foul play.
‘The dad used the vehicle the toddler was in to take people to school, to work, and all that,’ Hegarty said. ‘[He] then took a separate car to work that caused him to forget the child was in the backseat of the car.’
This is the 50th such incident this year and the 5th in Florida.
You can only imagine the anguish, grief, and guilt these parents, and especially the Dad, must feel. It is so sad.
However, as I read this news of this tragedy, I thought of an even greater tragedy being suffered by so many children today.
Too many fathers and mothers, even those who profess Christianity, have forgotten about the spiritual needs of their children. They have failed to provide a healthy environment to nourish their little souls.
The Bible admonishes parents with these words: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).
When fathers are harsh and hurl cutting and cruel words at their children, they have forgotten their kids.
When mothers are so busy with their careers and their personal pursuits and neglect to listen to the needs of their sons and daughters, they have forgotten their kids.
When fathers and mothers angrily fight, screaming at each other, yelling ugly names with little eyes watching and little ears hearing, they have forgotten their kids.
When parents are so busy with their professions and pursuit of pleasure that they fail to pray, read the Bible and talk to them about Jesus and God, they have forgotten their kids.
When parents skip Bible classes or worship services because they are too tired, too busy, or too preoccupied with their self-interests, they have forgotten their kids.
The ancient words of Moses to Israel’s parents still serve as a real and relevant reminder to 21st-century parents.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:4-9, ESV).
The metaphors are not difficult to understand. Make God and His Word the center of your family life. Let it guide your actions and attitudes. Allow it to form your values. And be a priority for all your activities.
If you’re a parent, then parent your children. Don’t forget about your kids.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman