The Things are now 7 and 5, respectively. They may grouse a bit about Shabbos, but they still keep it. They go to yeshiva, daven when they're told to daven, learn the parsha, and follow the Torah. They're little kids. Going OTD is not really an issue at this point.
Fast forward ten years.
I am picturing Thing 1, who wants with every fiber of her being to be a professional actress. How will she react if she is given a part that demands a Friday-night performance? What about Thing 2, who was born with a mind of her own and a penchant for bending the rules? What will happen if one of my children turns out to be gay? What will I do if they decide to go OTD?
I'll tell you what I will not do. I will never abandon them.
One of the big selling points in kiruv is Judaism's strong family values. I have questioned this for years, seeing the widespread institutionalization of young children, educational neglect, silent children, and kids knocking on strangers' doors doing fundraising without adult supervision. However, this article in the Mishpacha made my hair stand up on end.
The article referenced a rabbi in Israel that takes in young OTD girls tossed out by their parents. A kind act, true, but why are teenagers being turned out at all? Because the parents are ashamed? The child (and make no mistake--15 and 16 year-olds are still children) is trying to grow and define herself. Sometimes, this takes on forms that parents disagree with. That's typical adolescence. However, putting one's own children out on the street is not only atypical, it is abusive. Moreover, it is counterproductive. Odds are, once a child is tossed out, that child will never come back. Not to the parents, and not to Yiddishkeit.
As parents, it is our job to put our children first. Our own feelings, our egos, others' opinions--all are secondary. No family should ever throw away their children. No parent should ever pray for a child's death. No parent should ever deliberately put a child at risk of harm, whether through starvation, physical attack, or sleeping in the street. And no one should ever tell a confused teenager that "she brought it on herself."
Our children are gifts from G-d. They are not disposable!