Ashley*, a young girl living at The Porch Light safe home, left school truly concerned.
Ashley discovered that her best friend resorted to cutting herself to deal with being bullied at school and family issues at home. Ashley’s friend lacked the needed support and encouragement to help sustain her during hard times.
Where encouragement lacks, hopelessness blooms. As a former sex trafficking victim, Ashley understood this idea all too well and decided to fight back. Through empathy and love, Ashley came alongside her friend by offering encouragement and hope.
April is almost over, which means National Child Abuse Prevention Month is ending and our pinwheels are being plucked from their garden. But, the fight for child abuse prevention is not over. We’re looking for fighters, like Ashley, to step up to the challenge of preventing child abuse, abandonment and/or neglect.
Here are four tips to help you put up a good fight against child abuse when it comes to impacting One More Child:
- Give a child attention. Ashley’s friend was lonely, where the scars from her cutting cried out for help. Ashley fought back against the abuse and neglect by giving attention to her friend. Children greatly need our time to cultivate trust, establishing right emotional and spiritual health.
- Be a mentor. A mentor is a teacher, and teachers aren’t only found in classrooms. The best mentors are ordinary people like parents, friends, coaches, pastors and more. Though she may not have realized it, Ashley courageously took on the role of a mentor by offering wisdom through experience, understanding and reliability.
- Ask questions that foster a child’s faith. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Training is teaching, and all good teachers ask good questions. Good questions, and more specifically, faith questions, foster a child’s confidence because they deal with eternity, self-worth, hope and more:
Who loves you?
How and why did Jesus die?
What have you learned about God lately?
When do you feel closest to God?
How can you serve others?
- Extend mercy when a child makes a mistake. No one should ever be surprised when a child makes a mistake. Mistakes are opportunities for children to learn and adults to teach. In that, mercy should lead the way in thought and action. The absence of mercy leads to harm, where the presence of mercy advances love. Perhaps the greatest gift Ashley extended to her friend was mercy, because true mercy is motivated by love.
*Name changed to protect the identity and privacy of the individual