Thursday, January 22, 2009

Invisible inventions...invisible intentions

“Children are great imitators.
So give them
Something great to imitate.”
– anonymous from: Compassion on our Children

Can't help wondering...what you're wondering about?

In the news today, this is one os several articles that makes me wonder…
Ottawa boy's invisible invention warns birds about deadly windows

“Eighth grader Charlie Sobcov wants to stop birds from dying in collisions with windows, but he doesn't want to ruin anybody's view.
For his latest school science fair project he has invented painted, plastic decals that can be placed — discreetly — right in the middle of a window pane.”

Now, perhaps you are wondering, what does that have to do with Child Abuse?

For me the connection is obvious and deserves attention on this site...not because Charlie needs it but because other children need to know what is possible for them to do.
Too many children spend their days being denigrated by all forms of abuse and neglect, including verbal abuse by the adults in their lives.

Another article today includes the following information:
Child abuse is reported every 10 seconds in the U.S., according to ChildHelp, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. According to the organization at least four children die each day in the U.S. because of abuse or neglect.( Those numbers refer to reported cases… many say they are no more than the tip of an iceberg threatening to sink the world we’d like to have.

Neither the children nor the adults involved realize that such a process contributes to the other kinds of stories that fill our papers every day…stories of children harming, destroying, killing living things, including their own pets, siblings, parents and children, for no reason other than their own internal rage at having been harmed by abuse and neglect by others.

Today’s news also included this story about LA deciding to use 6 million dollars intended to fight child abuse for food stamps instead. (,0,1555694.story) I’m certainly not against increasing food stamps in a world where hunger is increasing, but why not get that currently paltry sum from some other program, rather than take from one needy group for another whose victims are often the same? To me that is just another form of abuse and neglect… societal and political choices that abuse and neglect vulnerable children are no less evil than parents who do the same.

And finally… one last example of another form of abuse and neglect in the news today, as evidenced in the comments left on the Charlie Sobkov story… No doubt there are many who will see my comment as abusive… certainly as negative…and to them I apologize. And yet I feel the need to raise consciousness concerning child abuse and neglect, where I can, when I can...even if it means I shamefacedly resort to that which I abhor in order to make the point. For I do agree with Jane Nelson when she asks:

"Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?"

My experience suggests that adults don't respond any more positively to similar treatment. Children and adults both learn what they live and respond in similar ways. So we need to learn to recognize what may be abusive behaviors we are doing and what behvaiors children and others are imitating. Why am I so emphatic about that? Because I believe what Gandhi said: “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

In other words, we have to give the children...and each other...something better to imitate...not more of the same. We do have to become the change we seek.

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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