SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE done in this country, and it needs to be done quickly.
Our children are at stake.
Their futures. Their hopes and dreams.
And, as a society, many of us are setting back and saying, “That’s too bad. I hope someone does something about it,” without ever thinking that we are those ‘someones’.
April is a month set aside to bring attention to the plight of child abuse and neglect, but it’s an issue that demands more than 30 days of our time and attention, because it is something that needs to be dealt with so that these children are protected.
No child deserves to wonder when a parent or another adult is going to explode into violence and make that child the focus of their rage. No child deserves to wonder if there’s any food in their house; and if there’s electricity and running water and other basic necessities of life.
And it’s time for someone to do something about it.
Let’s start with the parents.
I know, it’s a ‘hot button’ topic, but you can draw a direct correlation between the demise of the traditional family and the rise in abuse and neglect incidents in our society. The vast minority of children now live in a home where at least one parent is no longer present; and in some cases was never there in the first place.
So let’s start where I know best:
Men, you thought you were man enough to make a baby; so now’s the time to be man enough to care for that baby. Too many times you simply walk away, because that baby isn’t growing inside of you, and you count it as another “seed sewn” and you move on.
That has to stop.
You are responsible for bringing a human life into this world, and that makes you responsible to make sure that child has what it needs to thrive and grow. I really don’t care that buying diapers will mean that you can’t have the newest version of Jordan athletic shoes. Those are for children, too, and you gave up your right to act like a child when you made one.
Stand up and be a man and take care of your responsibilities.
You’re doing tremendous work raising a child on your own, and that’s not fair; but you’ve got another person to care for now, so the adult decisions that you made have removed you from being a child, as well.
First of all, you’ve got to demand that the father of your child assume responsibilities for your baby, including financial responsibilities, and if he doesn’t want to do that, you need to visit Judge Coy’s office on the second floor of the courthouse and let the judicial system encourage him to cooperate.
There are legal ways to get what your baby is entitled to, and you need to make sure that you explore all of those ways.
Now, I understand that this may be seen as a “sweeping statement”, and if it offends you, I’m sorry,
But it’s a baby, not a possession.
And it’s your baby.
It’s not your parents responsibility to deal with the decisions that you made, although because they love you they are willing to help you get on your feet and begin to develop your family life with your child.
But at the end of the day, that baby is your responsibility, not your parents.
Yes, it’s fun to dress them up and take lots of pictures and take them places; but babies are more than your latest possession.
They cry and they get hungry and they get sick and they poop.
And none of that is much fun to deal with.
But you’ve got to deal with it, now.
Girls and boys.
Perhaps you and your ‘significant other’ haven’t had sex yet, but you’ve almost gotten there. You walk around the hallways of your school and you know that other kids are doing it, and maybe in order to be accepted, you need to do it, too.
Girls: believe it or not, boys aren’t interested in those sorts of things because you are pretty. They’re interested because they have hormones raging inside of them. A boy wanting to be intimate with you is not a result of how pretty you are; it’s a result of how willing you are.
If he is, in fact, “Mr. Right”, then he will respect you and he will treasure you.
Boys: It may be cool to walk the halls and exchange “war stories” with your buddies about your latest conquest, but someday you’re going to want to get married and have a family. I want you to think about looking into your bride’s eyes and seeing all of the guys she’s slept with over the years. Many of them are your buddies, and they’ve taken a great deal from her, but they’ve also taken something very special from you, too.
A real man waits; so be a man.
Now, how does all of this tie together? Well, at the end of the day the result is that there are lots of little children out there who didn’t ask to be born into the situation that they are in, and they have no way out.
This Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the courthouse there will be a special vigil to honor the victims of child abuse and neglect; and as we stand there, we all need to also stand up and declare that we aren’t going to allow this to happen to our children anymore.
Someone has to step up.
And you might be that someone.