April was the Month of the Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
During the month of awareness, we focus on the needs of young children and may be forced to face what is a reality for many children and the abuse they endure. But that awareness should not end at the closing of the month. What if we were to take that motivation for change and awareness of what needs to be addressed into the months that follow?
The United States rates as one of the worst for child abuse among industrialized countries. In fact, did you know that between 4-7 kids die daily from abuse and neglect. It is sad to realize that you could pack 10 modern football stadiums full from the number of children that are experiencing some form of maltreatment. Click & Tweet!
(Statistics from National Child Abuse Hotline—link provided below.)
As a counselor, I have heard some horrific stories of what some children have endured. And I can tell you this: looking at the students in a classroom, on a soccer field, or wherever you might see a young child, you would never guess what some of these children have experienced or might still be experiencing. It is sad and true.
We tend to think there is a stereotypical look of a child in need, but let me tell you there are children in need all around us. Click & Tweet!
For some of these children, even their most basic needs aren’t being met. They may not have adequate food, clothing, or even a warm or safe place to live. You might think that in this country it doesn’t happen. But it does. We just don’t have eyes to see it.
For other children, their basic needs may be met, but there may be some gaping holes in their emotional wellbeing. Some children are experiencing abuse but have no way of even asking for help. And trust me, abuse comes in many shapes…physical, sexual, and emotional. The sad thing is, we like to think we would see it and know it, but that is not necessarily true.
I like to take time to encourage people during the month of April, but especially as a way of life—look around you and take the time to make a difference for a young child! You might not ever know the difference your time, words, or kind gesture might make. You just might be that person that gives them a glimmer of reassurance, security, or hope.
What if we asked ourselves these questions:
- Would you want your words to be a child’s inner dialogue?
- What memories will this child carry through life?
- Am I giving my child/or any child a reason to look up to me?
- Are you helping a child’s dreams come true?
- Does your child know you value his uniqueness?
- Did I make a difference in the life of a child today?
Let’s not just think of the young child in April but every day. Let’s take this goal and motivation into May, and the rest of the year, with the hope of inspiring one young child a day. It may be your child, it may be a friend’s child, or even just a young child you pass in the store—but let’s be the one to make a difference.
It is easy to sit back and want things to be different.
It is easy to sit back and dismiss yourself from doing something about the overwhelming issue, after all, it may or may not be something that affects you personally. But what if we each took an interest in making a difference in the life of a child. As we head out of this month of awareness and into our daily life, I would like to challenge you. I would like you to make a conscious effort each day in the month of May to say or do something that affects the life of a child. It may be as simple as a compliment. It may be more involved as giving a gift or spending time with them.
You may be at a loss for what to say or do.
Never fear! I will provide a list of 50 things you can say to a child to encourage them. And if you are ever at a loss, just use the list! (Yes, one for each day of May, and several extras, so no excuses!) Let’s help children know that they matter every day of the year! Click & Tweet!
Would you like to learn more about child abuse. Here is a link with some startling statistics: