What comes to mind when you think about the month of November? For many people, it is the beginning of the holiday season where you look forward to spending time with your family and friends, eating to your heart’s content, and giving thanks. Everyone has their own list of things that they are thankful for. These can include simple things such as having a roof over their head, their family and friends, or that they woke up this morning. These can also include more materialistic things such as getting a new $1,500 iPhone, going on a luxury vacation for a week, or getting a new $5,000 bag. Although it is nice to have things to be thankful for no matter what they may be, it is important to remember those that are less fortunate.
As we celebrate the month of November and the Thanksgiving holiday, there are many people who will not have friends and family to gather with or even food to eat. This includes our most vulnerable population, children. As we gather around the table with our friends and families, including children who may be your nieces/nephews, your grandchildren, or your own children, it is important to remember that not every child has the same privilege. Studies have shown that acts of child abuse increase during the holiday season. This could be due to the parents/caregivers being more stressed than usual and taking it out on the children, although, it is never acceptable. There are many children who will be experiencing this Thanksgiving holiday witnessing violence among their caregivers/parents, being abused and/or neglected themselves, witnessing abuse and/or neglect of their siblings, or having to witness their parents passed out or disoriented as a result of abusing substances. There are many situations like this that never get reported and the children never get the help that they need.
For those of you that do not know, November has a day that is dedicated to child abuse. In the year 2000, the Women’s World Summit Foundation founded November 19th as World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. This day was created to bring awareness on child abuse and working together to help prevent it.
Time is invaluable. Spend time with the ones that you love and be grateful for the things that you have. Although it is normal to always want more than you have, remember that there are others that wish they were as lucky to have what you have. November is the month dedicated to gathering and giving thanks. I encourage you to think about all the things you are thankful for in your life rather than focusing on what you wish you did have.
I am thankful to have supportive and loving friends/family, an education, and a home to call my own. I am also thankful to have a job where I get to help children who have been abused and be by their side through the healing process. What are you thankful for?
Be safe this holiday season! May your lives be full of both THANKS and GIVING.
Family Advocate/MDT Coordinator