Be a bright-colored Crayon

I recently spoke in front of my home church. A bit nervous, I talked about my mission to end child abuse in our community. If you had asked me 20 years ago, what I would be doing today … I would have never guessed I would be advocating to end child abuse. I mean, why would anyone hurt a child?

I was blessed with a great childhood. Beyond our primary education we were given opportunities to grow through 4-H, taking music lessons, travelling the world, getting a college education and so much more. Growing up, we worked hard and spent time together as a family. We laughed often and loved even more. However, I know I am far more fortunate than some. When my husband and I started a family, we vowed to so the same; to give our children boundless opportunities.

While working in early childhood, I have been given many new learning possibilities. At the same time I am exposed to variety of community and county needs. It provides an outlet for me to make a difference “for my club, my community, my country and my world;” the 4-H pledge I have been reciting since I was 9. I am proud to say I’ve taken it upon myself to learn more, do more, advocate more and protect children more.

We owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves about child abuse … that it goes far beyond bruises and broken bones. It includes denying a child his/her right to food and shelter, exposure to drugs and dangerous substances, and emotional and sexual abuse. We owe it to ourselves to be a voice for those that don’t have one.

The last Sunday in April is nationally recognized as “Blue Sunday;” a day when churches of all faiths across the nation are asked to join together in a day of prayer to demonstrate their appreciation to those who help abused or neglected children, and to support children and families who have been touched by abuse. Prior to church on Sunday, I had asked the congregation to wear blue to show support for child abuse victims and their advocates. I was amazed when I looked out into a “sea of blue” and together we bowed our heads, folded our hands and spoke these words by Janet Magee:

Lord, thank you for our children,

For them we kneel and pray.

Help us teach them of your kindness,

Of your mercy and your way.

Help us show them of your love,

Your strength and safety, too.

Help us show them who you are,

Help us treat them like you do.

Let us pray, educate ourselves and volunteer,

For the children of our nation,

Until black and blue are just colors In their crayon box.

Amen

We need to prevent child abuse and protect our children each and every day, not just one month a year. To pray each day, and not just one day out of 365. I ask you to go out and be an advocate for a child. Volunteer at your local Child Abuse Prevention councils. Go out and be the bright colors in a child’s crayon box.

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.