Everything Matters

infant holding mothers hand
Image from javeria.wordpress.com/

There were several things that made me take the leap and start this blog. One of the reasons was a desire to share a book I’d written in response to the growing number of child abuse cases in the news. I wanted to share some of the information I’d found as well as my own opinions and beliefs on caring ourselves, our families and most of all, our children with love, compassion and understanding.

If you’ve been here before, you may know that earlier this month, I shared my own story of abuse as part of my efforts to raise awareness and encourage positive change for April being Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month.

I am incredibly grateful and touched by the amazing, supportive comments I received and was feeling really hopeful and good about posting more information about abuse and prevention this month.

Then, I hit a wall.

For whatever reason, I don’t have a problem sharing my own story. However, hearing or reading about others accounts of abuse and neglect, brings me to my knees.

Maybe because it’s April or because it was more top of mind but the past few weeks, I keep landing on the most horrible stories in the news and my high hopes and optimism really took a hit.

I won’t link to the stories because honestly, I can’t. I can’t read them again or see the pictures but here’s just a few of what I saw:

– An infant just a few weeks old found dead with severe burns, parents claim it was slipped in to a scalding bath by accident, then left to die.

– A 9 year old boy found naked, starved and covered with bruises, wondering down a street, looking for food.

– Another child had been tied up and locked in a bathroom, sometimes for weeks at a time, also starved and beaten.

There are more but I don’t want to list them all.

Stories like these are why I wrote You Are Loved. These are the kind of stories that made me want to research and share information. But these are also the stories that now have made me start to doubt my own efforts.

Can I really make a difference? What good is it going to do? With so many stories like this in the news, can anything ever get better?

Because my opinion is this: Child abuse has become an accepted epidemic in our society.

Social services is not going to be able bring about the end of child abuse. Thank God we have child protective agencies and there are serious consequences for people that harm, neglect and kill children but I don’t believe that government agencies alone are going to be able to stop these horrible acts.

We as a society have to stop accepting that “these things just happen” and some people are just trashy/stupid/mean or whatever we want to label them as. It’s not my child so it’s none of my business.

I feel like this kind of change is going to take a shift in consciousness and attitude from all of us.

A shift in the way we treat ourselves and in the way we see and treat each other in the world.

But as it stands, we can’t even stop beating each other up when others have different opinions or views. We gossip and criticize each other over appearances.

Worst of all, there are people who still feel children are stupid, a burden, a bother and a problem that must be fixed. Fixed with slaps, punches, burns or locking them in cages and withholding food. Making them run along side cars or outside in the sun until they pass out or die from dehydration. (I wish I was making those examples up but they are from more stories in the news I’ve come across).

I got so depressed about this, I didn’t know what to post or if I would post anything at all.

But I think giving up or shutting down is just as bad as what’s happening to those being abused. For so many; they have no voice, no one to stand up for them or protect them at all. And as difficult as it is for me to read about and even write about now, we have to keep talking about this.

We have to be aware and we have to find new ways to educate and provide resources for those struggling so children don’t have to keep suffering.

The St. Louis Crisis Nursery is one organization helping in this battle. They provide parental counseling, financial support and a temporary safe haven for children while parents recover from issues like homelessness, domestic violence or other hardships. For parents, especially single parents with no other support system or families hit hard by the failing economy, this kind of relief and aid is incredibly important.

One of my favorite and most inspirational women in the world is Lisa Shannon. She has worked for many years to raise awareness about the ongoing torture, mass rape and murder of women and children in the Congo. Even with all the good Lisa has done, after a trip to visit some of the women she was helping, Lisa said her efforts felt like “tossing teaspoons on water on a raging fire” but still, she has never given up.

I believe in the power of one, that one person can make a difference. I believe in staying open to all possibilities. I think this is what keeps me going. Because I have been down, really down, but I’m getting back up.

And I believe there is good in the world. Good in each of us, love and wisdom to be shared, support to be given and understanding for us all.

I shared this quote from a book I just started in a previous post but I’m repeating it here again because it really sums up what I also feel, believe and what gives me hope:

The more we adjust or shift – even in tiny ways – the more we can look forward to sweeping changes showing up in our lives. We can cut one thing out of our diet, add a minute or two of meditation, or turn our attention just for a moment toward kindness, and before we know it we are different people creating a different world. From Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston.

If tiny changes can create a different world, there is hope. Our thoughts and actions creating ripples in a world that touches everyone of us can bring about positive change. We all have the power to create a safer world for children.

There is power in one and in each one of us.

Everything matters.

What do you think? What can we do to create more positive change or provide more awareness and protection for children as well as support and resources for struggling parents before abuse even begins? How do you feel about these issues?

8 thoughts on “Everything Matters

  1. Oh I got such tingles reading about the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. So many times people “abuse” the parents that are causing the abuse to the children. But these people need real help. If for no other reason than to END THE ABUSE they are taking out on these helpless children. They need counseling and tools to deal with anger, frustration and hard times. They cannot cope. So they take it out on these innocent children. It’s terrible, but we cannot in turn neglect them.

    I know first hand how overwhelming this can be. You planted the seed last week with “Be The Change” but here you admit how hard it can be to do something that appears simple.

    And there is the enormity. I love the visual of throwing teaspoons of water on a raging fire. Will me being nice to my child really help all those other kids in desperate need? I don’t have the answer, but as we said last week, it’s all we can do. Be the change. And believe, somehow, somewhere it will help. It’s tough, I know. We find courage together. Great post Anna.

    • I completely agree, I get angry at parents when I hear about some of these stories but I would also do anything I can to get them the support and resources they need if it would stop a child from bring abused. You are right, they are just having trouble coping and are in need of help. That is a big part of what the Crisis Nursery does. That feeling of “teaspoons of water on a raging fire” is what really got me down with how big this problems is but I have to believe there is hope and any changes we make toward kindness and care can make a difference. Thank you so much for reading Carinn, I always appreciate your thoughtful comments!

    • Yes, just being aware and having the desire to help and make positive changes can lead us to ways of doing so. :) Thanks so much Carinn!

  2. Yes, everything matters. I believe in the power of one, too. Don’t stop using your voice. Take breaks and rest when you need to, but don’t stop. You have an important and powerful voice. Thank you for your courage.

    • Thank you so much for reading Heidi and leaving this kind comment for me. That is probably the key – take breaks but just keep going forward. Thank you again!

  3. What can we do? You’re doing so much by sharing your own story and by spreading the word to raise awareness. And the questioning. Constant questioning. And little changes. I mean, if we all were brave enough to change a little each day, a shift towards empathy and kindness, away from fear and anger…how powerful would that be?
    Keep writing these posts. Keep questioning. I’ll keep trying to answer right along with you. <3 Thank you for being courageous.

    • Thank you so much Kim, for all your kindness and support. I think you are right, little changes, constant questioning and hopefully, this will cause the shift toward empathy and kindness we so badly need. It felt so good to write this, just to get all my thoughts out. Thank you for reading!

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