By: Sgt. Peggy Smith, Fayetteville Police Department
November is National Inspirational Role Model Month. I find it intriguing how society loosely deems one a “HERO” or an “inspirational Person” without really knowing the meaning of what a true hero is. I wonder if they mistakenly got it mixed up with Barbara Walters’ “10 Most Fascinating People”, which always made me shake my head in awe. What was so fascinating about them? What have they contributed to the world besides their talent to act? What is a true hero? A true hero is a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character. A true hero is a person who has the special achievements, abilities or personal qualities and is regarded to be a role model. I believe that these qualities are within all of us, especially when it comes to the children of our community. We have all been strategically placed at a place and time to do something amazing in the world, and we need no cape or special powers to make a difference in the world. We only need to open our eyes and heart, and step out of our comfort zones to make the world a better place for our children. As a survivor, I remember the helpless feeling of wanting to scream out what was happening to me for every adult present in my life who didn’t notice the signs to hear. I felt small and insignificant, and worst of all, Helpless! This month I want to encourage you to be a voice for the voiceless and be a hero in a child’s life.
How? You may ask. Learn the signs of child abuse. Start with available classes offered by your local CAC, i.e. Darkness to Light training. With this knowledge you gain insight and power to speak up when you see something wrong. If you see a child exhibiting these behaviors you will have the ability to recognize them and act, giving you the voice of a child in a desperate situation with no skill or ability to speak for themselves. Know the signs!
|Not all heroes wear capes
Recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect
Emotional or behavioral signals (unexplained anger, rebellion, withdrawal, depression)
Sexual behavior and language that are not age appropriate
Anxiety, chronic stomach pain, headaches, change in school behavior, crying, avoidance of friends, change in appetite, and/or attention-seeking behavior.
If a child reports abuse, listen calmly.
Report any suspected abuse or neglect immediately to Child Protective Services at 910-677-2450 or call 911.
(Note: some children do not show signs.)
Other ways to be a hero is to give a child in foster care a family, YOURS. Children in foster care need loving, stable, and determined adults to step up and take them in. With so much at stake for those children, the families that foster older youth understand the importance of the task at hand.
How Adopting a Child makes you a HERO: Any family willing to give a loving home to a child and make them part of a family that will never leave them, nor give up on them makes a lasting impact on children who have lost and suffered so much already in their short lives here on earth. Not only does this make a tremendous impact on the child receiving the home, but your own family will receive rewards in return. The desire to help a child move on in life is an incredible gift. I learned recently that there are over 800 children currently in foster care right here in Cumberland County. All people need and want love and acceptance. The family is the foundation that these children need to heal from the past grief and pain they have endured. Do you have love to share to help a child heal from their past and give them hope for a bright future?
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes for you to ponder on how you too can be a hero in a child’s life.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’”.—Erma Bombeck