About the Pinwheel
Tragedy and crisis are all around us as we each try to navigate through how to best respond and survive a worldwide pandemic. Amidst what we are already going through, there hides a silent epidemic that isn’t new at all – one that continues to infest our nation – which is child abuse. The statistics on child abuse are staggering. In order to acknowledge it’s presence, it requires at least one of two things – a witness to recognize, respond and report the abuse, or a child victim to disclose what’s happening. Both require an incredible amount of courage that is oftentimes very difficult to have because of the weight of the story. Statistics show us that only 1 in 10 children will ever disclose their abuse in childhood. It is easy for us to sit idly by and wish that child abuse didn’t exist. We say that we want to create a safer environment for our children, but we often forget, or simply do not know, how we can eliminate child abuse.
During the month of April – across the nation and throughout our local community – thousands of brightly colored, shining pinwheels adorn the lawns of local businesses and agencies. These pinwheels are designed to create an awareness of the reality of child abuse within the communities in which they reside. They will remain throughout the month of April which is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month. Many ask, “Why the pinwheel?” If you could just take a moment and close your eyes. I want you to imagine yourself as a child. The grass is a bright and deep green and is freshly mowed. The sky is piercing blue with the most perfectly shaped fluffy clouds. A warm sun is beaming down and a cool breeze sweeps across your face. In your hand is this shining, glittery pinwheel. The breeze catches the blades of the pinwheel and all the sudden, you’re captivated as it spins and glistens in the warm sun. Just the mere spinning of the pinwheel has you grinning from ear to ear, as if you don’t have a care in the world. Your innocence is being preserved and safeguarded and yet, you have no idea that child-like innocence even exists – because it has never been stolen from you.
The purpose of the pinwheel is to restore that innocence into the lives of children within our community, and it is our responsibility to do that. For our own children, for other children within our families, for children in our neighborhood, on our child’s sports teams, or for the child you have yet to meet – child abuse is preventable. We must understand that it is not a disease that someone has, but a choice that they have made to cause harm to a child. The more we, as a community, choose the child and speak up for their protection, actively preserving their innocence – the better our world will be. Because every child matters, and every childhood deserves to be protected.