Here lately in the news are countless stories of children killed, neglected, abandoned and left for dead. Take the father in Georgia whose 22 month old son lost his life after being left and locked in a hot car for more than 8 hours, while his father was working…heartbreaking. Or all of the numerous videos posted on social media of parents beating their children in ways unimaginable. The very thought of these and so many other tragedies, cuts my heart to the core. I’m filled with so many emotions; pain, anger, sorrow, pity and yet the same question remains why is this happening? According to the Department of Geosciences, the average number of U.S. child heatstroke fatalities from 1998-present is 38 per year. 38 precious blessings whose lives were prematurely taken from this world. With 18% of these children left intentionally and over 50% “forgotten” by parent or caregiver, I’m left asking myself, “what has gone wrong?”
In the period of 1998 through 2013, a total of 606 infants and children died of heatstroke inside hot motor vehicles. Just over half (51%) of these were accidentally forgotten by a parent or other caregiver. Of these 312 deaths, the number of deaths in which the mother (95) or father (100) were the responsible party are nearly equal. Also, of all responsible persons, the number of males (129) were approximately equal to the number of females (137).
What has changed in the hearts of parents whose responsibility is to provide and protect, nurture and love the beautiful children they are blessed with? How have we become so desensitized that a video of a 3 year old boy being beaten and abused by his father isn’t enough to demand action?
Looking into the eyes of my beautiful children and thinking back to when they were babies, connects my heart to this issue in a way that’s personal. I read these stories and I’m overcome with sadness and a sense of loss as if I somehow knew these children. I didn’t have to know them personally or any of the future children I wish I could save. I’m a mother, a mommy whose heart is whole. Does that make me perfect? That would most certainly be a resounding no!! The thing is, broken hearts, minds and perspectives hardly are equipped to offer anything different. Broken parenting produces broken children with broken emotions, relationships, hearts and lives. A defenseless child with the potential to better this world is never given the chance because their cries are left unanswered, needs unmet and well being unprotected.
We all have a purpose in life. For me it’s quite clear. My purpose in this life is to impact the lives of moms and children. I’ve challenged myself to make a difference in the lives of hurting children right in my community. Educating moms, providing the resources and support needed to mend and heal their brokenness. It starts with one decision to be a mother’s keeper. This is my business and passion. It’s time to offer real solutions and finally put an end to all of the violence against children!