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Being honest with children importantPosted Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at 3:21 PM
I opened my Facebook page last week to find a long status, posted by a friend of mine from college, talking about the backlash she received from a photograph she posted the day before of her daughter.
Tara, who is the mother of two and a professional photographer, had taken photos of her daughter holding a sign that says, "I told my mom even when he said not to! I am brave! I am four-years-old. Tell your story, too! Be brave!"
The next photo shows her daughter with her hands over her mouth, with text saying, "Break the silence. Join the movement."
I was so confused at first, until Tara took the time to tell her daughter's story, as well as her own. They are both survivors of the unthinkable, but Tara's own testimony led to her daughter speaking up when she knew something was not right in the situation.
I'll spare the details. What matters is we hear stories on the news and read them in the newspaper about how a child was harmed by a family member, but it is so hard to believe this could happen to the most vulnerable people in our society -- our children.
Let alone consider this could happen to someone you know and love.
She admitted the photos of her daughter holding up the sign were shocking, but noted that was the point of the campaign.
Tara wrote on her blog, "She is 100 percent involved in this project, of course she only knows 'kid appropriate' things about it, but she does love this sign, had me read it to her many, many times, and now it hangs in her room. She knows she was brave and knows she did the right thing, so for all those that would say it is wrong of me to take this picture and post it, shame on you for wanting to silence a voice, no matter how small we can all have our stories and we ALL deserve to be proud of being brave enough to share them."
Since posting the photographs to an online campaign, more campaigns have shared the photograph, commending Tara and her daughter for being brave enough to tell their stories.
So kudos to Tara. She has given her daughter a voice, and in turn may be able to give other children who encounter these terrible situations a voice.
If they see one 4-year-old who was brave enough, children of all ages may be able to gather the courage to go to a trusting adult.
If our children, nieces, nephews, students, neighbors or the kid that sits next to you in a church pew can't trust us, who can they trust in a time of desperation and confusion?
More than once I have sat at my desk and cried as I read the details of a stranger being harmed by a family member, and cried even harder as I tried to find the words to describe what that person allegedly did.
I just cannot imagine what I would do if something like that would happen to one of the munchkins in my life. Would they be able to tell their parents? Would they trust their Aunt Brina enough to tell me if they were scared or hurt?
So, take a moment to talk to the children in your life. If you don't know what to say take to the Internet and do a quick search. But, most importantly, make sure they know they can trust you in any situation, especially if someone says not to tell.
Explain to them the difference in "good touch" and "bad touch." If they are unsure about the circumstance, that is even more reason to come to you.
These children are our future, and more often it seems they are being harmed. We can't let this happen. Let's take back their childhood in a scary world filled with hate and intolerance.
Honesty with our children, as well as trusting them, can be the fuel to their own honesty and trust in the future. We can spend every day saying, "Oh, this won't happen to my family." But, the truth is we never know, and that is terrifying.
Sabrina is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 847-4487.
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