I was fortunate to grow up in a very Beaver Cleavery family. My parents met on a blind date and were married just a few weeks later. For mostly better and a little of life’s worst, they have been married 39 years.
I have one brother who is nearly six years younger, and he is happily married to a wonderful young lady I am proud to call my sister-in-law.
I married a loving man who grew up in a similarly stable home with parents who have been friends of our family for many years. I grew up knowing both my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (we all went to the same church as kids), and they have two adorably handsome sons who I’m proud to call my nephews.
As I survey my corner of the world, there is a happiness that is spectacularly mundane. I’m glad it’s that way because it means it’s all I’ve ever known. My personal life has been shaded with ups, downs and poor choices along the way, but my family life has been consistently awe-inspiring. My family loves me, and I was raised with high expectations for what I would do with my life because my parents supported the notion that I could do/be/win anything to which I set my mind.
Unfortunately, not everyone is equally blessed.
Last year in Louisiana, 45 children lost their lives at the hand of people who were supposed to love them. We hear the words “child abuse” so often that we don’t really even attach much meaning to it anymore. We know it happens. We hear about it on TV and in magazines. We hear it happens around us. Maybe we even know someone who lived through it.
But it’s always that thing that happens to other people’s families or in the “bad parts of town.” When we think of things to fight, we think of breast cancer, heart disease and birth defects. We think of dropping money in a charity box at Christmas or buying a raffle ticket to raise money for some random church- or school-based function. We don’t stop to think of what we can do to help children who are being abused.
That’s someone else’s problem. People just need to get a grip and treat their kids better.
VERY. MUCH. NO.
Thursday, April 7, CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) will host a gallery crawl at Aubry Hall on N. 2nd Street in Monroe to draw attention to the 45 children who lost their lives because of child abuse last year in Louisiana. Please consider attending so you can learn more about what goes on with CASA, how to recognize signs of abuse and how to help.
No one is asking for your money or your time or anything other than for you to bring listening ears and open eyes. CASA has asked local photographers to submit their work to draw attention to the plight of abused kids and to honor the 45 kids who lost their lives last year. People who attend the event will be asked to vote on their favorite picture, and the person with the most votes will be named CASA’s photographer of the year.
It’s a nice honor for whomever wins, but the honor is in participation. The honor is in being part of something that celebrates the 45 lives that were cut short. The honor is in helping spotlight the work being done at CASA.
Please be there. Vote. Listen. Learn. There is no commitment. Just show up.
Forty-five children died last year. Forty-five children. They had no way to protect themselves or to stop the abuse. They were most likely too terrified and embarrassed to let anyone know what was going on. We scream out at society about the abuse of animals and our natural resources while so many of our children – our most precious resource – are being abused, neglected and killed.
Forty-five children died. Imagine how many are still living through it. The little boy who wonders how he will cover up the bruises the next time Daddy drinks and prays that his little sister won’t get caught in the crossfire. The little girl who wishes Mommy would stay home instead of leaving her with the neighbor’s son who holds his hand so tightly over her mouth that she can’t scream when he sneaks into her room after her younger siblings have gone to sleep. The children who are saying prayers each night and wishing on every star in sight for less pain and happier childhood memories.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Heaven got too many of our angels last year. Thursday, April 7. No excuses. Be there.