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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
April is Child Abuse Prevention & Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
3 SIMPLE TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD
I facilitate safe environment classes in my church. An attendee recently inquired, "What is the best thing I can do to protect my child when I'm not around?"
This is a great question!
- Validate your children when they sense you are upset. If it's obvious you've been crying or that you're angry, telling them that you're just tired or have a headache causes them to doubt their God-given intuition. They learn to second guess themselves and dismiss what their "tummies tells them."
No need to give them inappropriate details. It's easy enough to say, "Thank you for noticing. I'm feeling a littel sad today. But it will pass. How was your day?"
If your child senses that a person or situation is unsafe, you want them to trust their intuition. And you want them to trust that you will listen and not dismiss them.
2. Let your children do little things for themselves. When you can, supervise with your eyes, not your hands, Moms. Pull the chair up to the sink. Let them wash dishes. Help fold laundry. Dump the dogfood in the bowl. I know it's hard when you're in a hurry. It goes so much faster when you do it yourself. But trust me, you will instill confidence in them. Children with low self-esteem are more likely to be targeted by abusers. (More on this in days to come--with cite references.)
3. Let your children do BIG things for themselves. We made a game out of this one: My youngest son would find the gate at the airport. (Ticket in hand with a parent by his side, directing him to look at the flight monitor.) He loved it!
If his bicycle needed fixing, he held the tools and his father talked him through it. Do activities like this take longer? Yep. But it will pay dividends in self-confidence.
I encourage you to consider each suggestion. What are some simple ways you can put these into practice? Take spirited initiative.
Published on Monday, April 6, 2020 @ 6:05 PM CDT
April is Child Abuse Prevention & Sexual Assault Awareness Month
A friend asked if I had a favorite day in the liturgical year. I suppose a lot of folks would say Christmas, or Easter. I thought for a moment, and although I am most fond of ordinary days, if I had to select one this year, it's Palm Sunday.
My friend was intrigued.
Palm Sunday (also known as Passion Sunday) is when Jesus entered Jerusalem "humble and riding on a donkey." I think of this as the back road of redemption. A road of unfathomable suffering that paved the way for the salvation of mankind.
When he enters, crowds wave palm branches and then place them on the ground in front of him. Together they sing, "Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."
Hosanna comes from a Hebrew word meaning "save us, we pray."
Many nights throughout my childhood, I lifted my small hands in the dead of night and cried from a place of destitute, "Save." To this day, I can recall his divine presence in my suffering, and in all the time that's passed, the gates of hell have not prevailed against the love I know he has for me.
In a live-stream of Mass this morning, we were reminded of how the Church improvises: We cannot gather together and lift our palm leaves, but we can lift the palms of our hands. This simple act I took as a child beckons to the adult in me--do not lose hope.
Nothing has the power to separate us from our hope in Christ. He made certain of it in his own suffering. Darkness cannot snatch hope from our hands.
All things new. Just hold on.
Just. Hold. On.
Peace and good,
Published on Sunday, April 5, 2020 @ 12:06 PM CDT