Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Child Abuse Prevention Month

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”
Pablo Casals (Spanish cellist)
Does that not speak to your heart?  This completely sums up the way I feel about children.  While all kids have a lot of the same mannerisms that make them endearing to me, they are all so extremely unique.  Each child goes to the beat of his own drummer; once you find the beat it’s like seeing the world through A different pair of eyes.  Why anyone would want to kill that light in a child’s eyes is beyond me.
Watch a child for a couple of minutes and you will see the enthusiasm they have for life.  Their absolute thirst for knowledge, they never stop!  They are so excited to learn and to pass along that one little tidbit.  A 1st grader asked me if I knew what a bargain was, because if I didn’t, he sure could tell me! 
Have you ever been around a toddler?  I wish I had 1/3 of their energy!  Imagine the amount of work you could get done with their liveliness.  As tiring as those buggers are, they are beyond cute!  Who else would laugh at the word pantalones for days on end? 
I look at my two elementary school offspring and how incredibly different they are, even though they are both brought up the same way.  The experiences they have shape them into the children they are today.  I have a little perfectionist who stresses at the thought of B on her report card and a more care-free child who is more concerned with the laughter in life.
After all the amusement with the various children in my life, it is very distressing to see the affect of abuse in children.  There wasn’t a news report that brought this post on or a newspaper article, it just hurts to see the light in a child’s eyes extinguished.  Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  Check out the troubling statistics below:
  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
  • Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse
There are many more statistics regarding the types of abuse and their consequences, including the correlation between child abuse and criminal behavior and substance abuse.  While they are all discouraging, the most heart wrenching things to read are the words of the abused children.  Take a moment to read them here. 
There are many ways to help keep the light alive in a child.  You could be an advocate for children’s rights, whether as a career or a volunteer.  Tell a friend to get involved.  Share your story.  Nothing gives more hope than hearing about someone overcoming child abuse.  Be an inspiration.  Give monetarily to a program that helps families and children.  Volunteer at a site that provides assistance.  Become a foster parent and/or adopt a child that is in need of a loving home.  Above all else, if you suspect ANY child abuse report it immediately.
As you can see, there are always ways to make a difference.  Even the smallest thing can change a whole perspective.  The most important thing to remember is that children mimic adult actions and the best way to change the future is to do what Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
For more information on what you can do to help, visit the links below.  Look out for National Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 6th and pass it along.  If you are in need of help, please don’t hesitate to call 1-800-4-A-CHILD or use any of your local resources.

To report child abuse in any state: Abuse Reporting or 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

To become a foster parent in Harrisburg, PA, read the job description at Northwestern Human Services: Employment Opportunities1 and contact Tesia Emerson at 717.236.7357 x119.

To become a foster parent in the U.S. or adopt: How Do I Become A Foster Parent? | AdoptUsKids

Other resources:
For Children PA Department of Public Welfare
For Families PA Department of Public Welfare