I am 83 years old and retired. I spent 17 years practicing law and almost four decades as a judge serving children and their families. The work was rewarding but not always successful. Still, I feel lucky and grateful that I chose what were the right jobs for me.
Our Juvenile Court and Family Court judges work in a society where, unbelievably, too many see corporations as people and disadvantaged people as chattel.
Many of those in our country who campaign on themes of “Children are our most important asset” ignore, or even neglect and abuse, our children on the day after election.
However, I find hope in many of this generation’s judges, private citizens and those well-qualified caseworkers and service providers who devote their hearts, lives and skill to those children.
These are the people we must honor; they are as important to our safety, freedom and survival as are our military and law-enforcement officers.
Cindy Lederman and Jeri Beth Cohen are my examples of this generation’s nationally and internationally recognized judges whose research and innovative
programs have improved the lives of many millions of neglected, abused and drug-addicted children and their caretakers.
Berta Blecke is my example of those rare and powerful citizen volunteers who initiate programs and bring public support and resources to needy children — programs for which they do all the work and we judges get the credit! I offer my poem of anger and hope:
Blessing the Children
Berta, Cindy and Jeri Beth
I dream. My gray spring aura
overcasts the Everglades.
Air of feudal-like greed
would kill this swampy Eden.
Now warm, wet air rises,
expands, turns slowly toward the sea,
and becomes three, moist, exquisite cumuli.
Their rain, their milk, dissolves the killer air.
They nurture, enliven, give first joy
to the frail young life below.
These are the three, free, heroic
daughters of my dream.
These are the ever-giving daughters
I never had, you know,
The daughters I cherish so!
Bill Gladstone, Delray Beach