Some interesting comments on the last post. I just thought I'd chime back in and give some of my own random--er, well thought-out thoughts. :)
Because I'm not involved in missions work nor do I come from a family that was, I honestly have no clue what the actual mentality is, in the missions field, when it comes to children. It does seem, based on the adults who write about their pasts, like the standard thought was that the parents would go out into the missions field, and when the child got to be school-aged, they were sent to boarding school all year to get an education. Also based on what I read, the parents seemed to really struggle with this (mostly the mothers) but still followed suit because it was a sacrifice you made to follow God's call and to do His work.
As for the abuse, which to me sounds like it was common enough since I've read three seperate, non-related accounts of it, I think part of why it was able to continue was that back in that time, it was taboo to talk about. Nowadays I think we feel more free to open up and share about abuse. I STILL have no clue how some of the worst abusers became missionaries though.
I really agree with Shelley in that it is always possible for "God stuff" to trump God. How often do we get so wrapped up in what are oftentimes very good activities, only to be left feeling drained or like we have no energy for the essentials?
I also think that kids in our culture aren't valued as much as they should be, which could explain the mentality that "there's important work to be done, so let's ship the kids off." I definitely think there's a place for families and children in the missions field and that it can be done, but I think parents have to guard against neglecting their kids in the name of doing something that seems like a higher calling, more important, etc. (I am not sure why I decided to blog on this topic in the first place; I guess after reading that book I realized I was bothered by this trend.)
The end. :)