|Dads2Dads: Well worth waiting |
|Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:35 am |
By TOM TOZER and BILL BLACK
Pictured with his daughter whispering into his ear is James McDonald (above). The girl whispering into her father’s ear is London McDonald. London is a fourth-grader at the Martin Elementary School. She is a bright student and attends the Martin Housing
We were honored to be among the “celebrity waiters” at the recent fundraiser dinner for the Exchange Club Family Center. This facility does a great job of supporting healthy families and addressing the scourge of child abuse.
Child abuse is far too prevalent in our society. In the 2012 fiscal year, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services received more than 169,000 calls to its child-abuse hotline. Similar reports come from across the country. One such report is far too many.
The Family Center – a community resource
The Family Center and its dedicated staff are doing their part to promote healthy families by raising community awareness, intervening where children are at risk, and conducting active programs to reduce family violence. The Center, with offices in Murfreesboro and Nashville, serves middle Tennessee and beyond by offering a number of wonderful programs:
• parenting workshops that show how to deal with conflict, separation or divorce;
• positive parenting classes that allow moms and dads to share experiences and talk about the challenges of being a parent—ensuring safety, handling stress, and promoting child welfare;
• in-home counseling that helps parents deal with a crisis, handle behavior issues, cope with stress, and learn about and adopt good parenting techniques to strengthen parent and child relationships;
• educational presentations to the community on child welfare, family violence and conflict, mental health issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse.
Hard labor—but a labor of love
Raising a healthy child is hard and exhausting work. With the pressures of the job, the need to pay the bills and the constant demands to provide food and shelter on top of the demands of being calm and loving parents, both mom and dad often find themselves in a constant state of frustration and anxiety. Yet it is incumbent upon us adults to love and respect our children. If we lack the patience or the skills to do so, then we must ask for help.
What grown-ups should know and do
Know always where our children are and know always the company they keep, both their peers and other adults. We should be involved and ask questions about their activities and relationships. Be nosy. We can’t be with our children all the time. We can, however, establish expectations and create boundaries. We can develop a culture of trust so that our children feel comfortable coming to us. And if we suspect a problem, we should take action.
It’s all of our business
The Exchange Club Family Center is a great resource. Professionals on staff can help with the challenges of being a good parent. If you suspect a problem outside your own family, one that may involve child abuse or neglect, don’t look away. The brush-off statement “It’s none of your business” is not valid in a society that believes in and promotes the common good. Suspected child abuse or neglect needs to be reported to the Department of Children’s Services (1-877-54-ABUSE; https://reportabuse.state.tn.us). The welfare of our children matters to all of us.
Contact Tom Tozer of Nashville and Bill Black of Murfreesboro at Dads2Dads@comcast.net. Visit www.dads2dads.wordpress.com