Although I’ve traveled over much of the world and currently live an ocean away from where I grew up, I’m able to stay in touch with the news in my home town (Canton, Ohio) thanks to the Internet. I like to check out the home town newspaper (The Canton Repository) whenever I get a few spare moments.
I came across an extremely disturbing article there today about how some of the smallest children in Stark County (the county in which Canton sits) are being horribly abused and sometimes even killed by abuse. A one year old child who was placed on a dresser, then hit hard in the head and pushed off the dresser (he died). A two year old with a skull fracture so severe that surgeons had to remove skull fragments from her brain.
The Stark County Department of Children’s Services has placed over 1,000 pinwheels at a prominent location in Canton (the Market Avenue location is almost in the middle of the downtown area, if my memory serves me correctly). Each pinwheel represents a neglected or abused child. It’s a strong graphic image of the effect of child neglect and abuse and is hopefully serving as a reminder of something that needs to change.
Will you do me a favor RIGHT NOW while things are calm in your house? I’ll assume that you’re a parent (or thinking about becoming one) if you’re reading this blog. Take a moment to look in the government listings of your phone book for the listing for Family Advocacy, Children’s Services, or something similar. Write down the phone number and put that card on your refrigerator.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are so “whatever” that you think you might do something to hurt your child, CALL THAT NUMBER. Get help. Or if you’re in such a position and don’t have that card, call the police. Get help.
Speaking as the father of a precious toddler (22 months old as I write this), I can’t imagine hurting her. She’s bright, curious, and pure joy as far as I’m concerned. Putting an end to her childhood innocence by abuse or neglect is the last thing I’d want to do to that child. Nevertheless, I carry the number for the Family Advocacy program at our local military base (as well as the phone number for the Military Police detachment) in my wallet, just in case.
And if you know of a child who is being neglected, please make the call. Childhood is precious, and having a healthy environment while growing up is crucial to a child’s proper development. So make the call if abuse or neglect is evident. Please get involved.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. — I also have the phone number for our local Poison Control Center handy, just in case. And keep half a tank of gas in your car at all times in case you need to make that midnight run to the emergency room!