I remember as a child growing up in our urban community the vast array of protective measures that parents and neighbors offered for the protection of the kids in our neighborhood. Our parents had monthly neighborhood meetings in different homes on the block. They got rid of high grass and broken glass in the neighborhood. All the residents keep their property looking clean and professionally manicured. Most of all the adults shared the responsibility of making sure the kids on our block were safe. If they saw something that might not be right, they reported it to the family. If any illegal activity was on the block the neighbors reported it to the police. I am sure that goes on today, however, it often looks like folks are not as aware in urban communities as they use to be.
As we think about Justice for Children's Awareness Month, I thought it might be good to take a look at how we as a community are making sure our children are safe. I am not talking about how the government is taking care of our kids, but instead, how we as neighbors and community members are seeing after the health and welfare of children in our neighborhoods. Are we paying attention? Are we looking at the children in our neighborhoods? Can you tell if they have scars on them, looked malnourished or sickly? It is common for us to say, I am not going to get involved, but if we don't who will? Who will see about the child, if the parent is not around to protect the child at the moment you see the child in distress?
I think we should remember that "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3 With this scripture in mind, how are we treating the gifts that walk among us that are from God?
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. In this verse, we see the importance of children to Jesus and our heavenly father. May I challenge you to do something special with children monthly? Be a mentor, speak a word of encouragement to a child, share a smile with a child, or share food or other items with a child.
The Children’s Trust created this list of tips for parents and caregivers to talk about basic personal safety skills with kids. Educate your children as early as possible, just as you would teach them about traffic or water safety skills.
Here are some of those tips:
Just as children don’t learn to ride a bicycle by talking about it, they don’t learn safety skills without practice. Children learn by doing. They need to role-play and see how it feels to say “No” in difficult situations. Check out the entire article at:
Play the “What If” game and help the child think of responses to various situations. Choose real-life situations such as confronting a stranger while walking to school, getting separated in a crowded store, or playing in the front yard. “What if the babysitter...” or “What if the school bus didn’t arrive on time...”
Have children practice what they can say and do if they feel threatened. For instance, children can practice yelling in a loud voice, “This person is trying to take me. I need help!”
Have children practice staying an arm’s length away from someone who approaches them.
Have children practice ignoring strangers who ask for directions and walking away from them.
Far too many children have suffered abuse. Let's speak up for our kids and protect them. Justice is still important for our neighborhood children. Kids are people too.
Let's make sure this protected group is properly cared for and loved in our communities. Children's rights and justice issues are a prominent matter and concern in our country.
Children have rights. Please notice the rights that are listed below.