Guest Author - Kelli Deister
I went to a local drive-thru, this past weekend, and was very upset with what I witnessed, while waiting in line. In the time it took me to get from the entrance of the drive-thru, to the speaker to place my order, I observed a father with his son. Apparently, the father was quite upset with his son about something. He proceeded to abruptly pick his son up, from his elbows, and then turn him upside down, keeping one hand on the childís back and the other on his chest. He then roughly put his son down, in front of him, and proceeded to scold him. The entire time he was doing this, the other members of his family acted as though they saw nothing. Nobody would approach the father, regarding his behavior.
I wanted to step out of my car and approach the father, while he was behaving in the way he was. However, because I was in a drive-thru line, there was nothing I could do. It broke my heart to see this little boy go through this. He must have been only about three our four years old. Although the father wasnít hitting his child, his behavior was quite abusive, especially when he physically turned him upside down and planted him back on the ground. There was nothing loving or playful about his behavior. It made me wonder what the fatherís children endure at home, behind closed doors. If a parent will handle their children like this in public, you can be sure what the children endure at home is far worse.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time, which has been established to help raise awareness on the issue of child abuse and neglect, in our country. Part of helping to prevent child abuse is getting involved in our communities. There are several ways for you to get involved. The key is to help families that you might know, who are struggling and facing stressors in their lives. Many times, stress within the home can lead to child abuse and neglect.
If you know of a family, which could use the extra help right now, offer to help babysit the children so the parents can have some time out together. You might also want to help with meal preparation, running errands, their laundry, or just taking the children out for a treat once a month. If you are have coaching skills, perhaps you can meet with the child once every couple of weeks and teach them how to play a particular sport the child is interested in. Whatever you do will certainly make a difference.
If you have construction or painting skills, you can volunteer your services and time, in order to help agencies, which serve families in your community. A great place to start would be a domestic violence shelter. They often lack the funds to take care of things that need to be fixed or painted. Volunteering your time and services would be a great way to help the children in those shelters. Homeless shelters are another great place to volunteer your time and services.
Easter is just a week away and there is a lot that those in the community can do for the children. Locate your local homeless shelter, or domestic violence shelter, and find out how many children are currently living there. You can then donate Easter baskets and goodies for the children in the shelter. Summer will soon be here. Perhaps you can consider donating some summer fun items to the children in the shelters, such as swimming toys and beach toys.
Please know that whatever you decide to do will make a difference in the life of a child. If you canít do any of the above donations, please consider giving a little financial donation to one of your local shelters, on behalf of the children.
Thank you for giving of your time and services. It truly will make a difference.