I love April though I could’ve sworn it was just January a minute ago. My how time flies, whether you’re having fun or simply trying to keep up.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month and if we don’t do anything else in the next few days, please put “pay attention” on your To Do list.
Growing up I was pretty sure I was abused because my mother was a no-nonsense disciplinarian. She didn’t play or negotiate–it was her way or the gravel road since we didn’t have highways back then. My siblings and I learned early when we were in trouble, there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
When she said it hurt her more than it hurt me when she meted out punishment, I wondered what kind of sadistic logic she was using but she assured me the correction was because she loved me. I came to understand the difference between discipline and abuse and many times during my adult life I thanked her for taking the time and having the courage to correct and direct my paths.
With that said, discipline is not the topic today. Preventing abuse is.
Abuse by any name – neglect, physical, emotional, sexual–the list goes on–is severe, crippling, and deadly in too many instances. A recent report indicated that COVID-related school closings exacerbated many problems associated with abuse by leaving vulnerable children at home full time with potentially abusive and drug-addicted parents, taking away dependable meals, subjecting children to uneven care and inattention as parents struggled to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.
Begun in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan to shed light on the problem of child abuse, this national designation is supported through the Children’s Bureau, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. This year’s theme, “Thriving Children and Families, Prevention with a Purpose,” (www.childwelfare.gov) hopes to get communities involved in protecting and supporting children and their families.
Here’s why this is important: While there are common factors across race and class, all children are at risk when alcohol use, domestic violence, financial hardship, inadequate housing, and caregiver disability are part of the equation. Strong families make strong communities and while foster care is an option for children who must be removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse, these are life-altering experiences.
Today I pray you will take an interest in the total welfare of your community’s children, whether that’s volunteering at your local church, school, or food pantry, asking tough questions about bruises and obvious neglect, working to support organizations that prevent sex trafficking and exploitation, and/or all of the above.
Intervene gently when you see a parent about to lose control—abuse is devastating and long lasting—and make prevention and awareness YOUR business.
Saturday is National Siblings Day and I love Claudia Evart for creating it to memorialize the loss of her brother and sister. I don’t know Ms. Evart but I do know I have some of the world’s best siblings—the phenomenal ones God gave me from the beginning and the amazing ones I inherited through marriage.
There are eight Bond children and 10 Hopsons so I’m never at a loss for a friendly face or something funny to giggle about. Each one is special and interesting, and I am blessed to know and be a part of this tribe. If you still have siblings, let them know how important they are. If not, call the next best thing and rejoice for the richness you share. Happy April and blessings.
Share your thoughts on child abuse awareness and how you plan to play your part and make a difference in your local community? I am all ears at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.