A lot of good people are investing themselves in the encouragement and moral formation of children and adolescents in America – but we have also trusted some of the wrong people with our children. Don’t ever let glib, articulate predators’ allies talk you out of protecting your youngsters. You are under no obligation to accommodate their access to them.

I went to an out-of-state sporting event recently and was surprised to see that a youth dance troupe from my city, just a couple of blocks from our house, preceded us there. The boys drummed, and the girls danced.

At halftime, they marched from the lobby onto the basketball court. They had remarkable stage presence. They knew how to hold an audience’s attention, starting with the throbbing, thunderous pulse of the drums. The girls strode in with eye contact from heads held high, a procession rather than a mere entrance.

Then, at center court, the dancing began. It was quite skillful, even acrobatic. An adult man crouched at courtside holding up fingers and gesticulating to direct the girls. They appeared to range from six or seven years of age to mid-teens.

As the pace quickened and the percussion loudened, the girls’ dancing changed. By the time the drumming climaxed, their dance was vulgar and salacious.

If the crouching man had posted a video of these children’s dance online, instead of presenting them live in a college gymnasium, he might have had legal difficulties. If some of these girls were adults, including some who appeared to be fifth-graders, they would have all the requisite exotic dance moves for employment in an Atlanta strip club.

The audience was mostly middle-aged and older small-town Midwestern folks. They were too polite not to applaud the youngsters who had obviously worked so hard, and traveled so far to entertain them. But they must have thought to themselves that something has gone terribly wrong in America.

There are a lot of good people investing themselves in the encouragement and moral formation of children and adolescents in this country, but we have also trusted some of the wrong people with our children.

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