The fad this week is to change your Facebook Profile picture into a cartoon character if you support the fight against child abuse. I haven’t done it. I’ve seen several threads discussing the value of this and tonight, someone asked me in exasperation, “what harm is in it to just raise awareness?” and I provided the following explanation:
The harm, I think, is that it allows people to believe that they have done something. Which, as <the original poster> pointed out, they haven’t; not really.
No one’s eyes are closed about child abuse. We all know that it happens, highlighting that it happens just to remind people doesn’t make it better and it doesn’t change the way a kid with a black eye feels about it.
What does help is donating money to people that do help or, even, volunteering to help yourself. Tonight several hundred thousand people will go to sleep feeling smug about helping to combat child abuse. There will also be something like 120,000 bruised children going to sleep tonight praying that someone, anyone, will do something more than flip a few bits on his or her facebook page.
This weekend, Rob and I took some young men camping where we talked about how to grow into men. Friends that replied to my blog post “Manly?” about this helped a great deal. Thank you.
All of these young men come from divorced houses and though they’re not “abused” in the traditional sense they are missing traditional role models. They are struggling to understand what growing up means.
Left to themselves I don’t know what would happen. Maybe they’d turn out fine or maybe they’d learn to drink too much beer and hit kids. I don’t think it’s something to experiment with.
In the last year we’ve seen these young men volunteer to do work in the community, we’ve talked with them about problems at home and at school. We’ve talked to them about drugs, alcohol and sex. All of them are on the B honor roll or higher now and none of them are parents or have been arrested. We even saw one of them baptized. Personally, I count that as a tentative success.
I’m often surprised at how eager these young men are to learn when given the opportunity. We constantly correct them. We don’t cut them much slack at all. We make them work, sometimes hard and yet, they always come back for more. In some cases they ask us to show them how to do specific things. They want to be good people and are trying so very hard at making themselves into that. They’re just not sure how yet but they’re getting there.
So, no, I won’t be changing my profile pic to a cartoon to show my support for stopping child abuse… I’m a bit busy actually stopping it.
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