Every Week Should be Children’s Week
Do you feel that? It’s spring. Flashback with me to times of simple childhood pleasures…picking little bouquets of yellow dandelions, blowing on those puffy spheres to scatter the seeds in the wind. Using color chalk to play hopscotch in the driveway. And pinwheels. The simple joy of making those colorful curls whirl and twirl. Ah, simpler times with not a care in the world.
That was my childhood.
As an adult I realize it wasn’t the same for everyone. A friend recently shared with me some of her foster care experiences, while another young woman I’m close to has confided in me about the abuse she endured from her parents as a teen.
No, they did not experience the same childhood I did.
Last week was Florida’s annual Children’s Week and I had the privilege of joining thousands at Florida’s Capitol to help spotlight the needs of children. This week-long celebration in Tallahassee provides a platform to advocate children’s issues. There was live music, character photo opportunities, and festive booths offering fun with make-and-takes, food, and games.
Those who came to the event share a commitment to improve and promote the health, safety, and well-being of Florida’s children and families. Many volunteers and organizations displayed information on the importance of access to education, school safety, and forming healthy habits. Other groups were reminders to me that not all childhoods are equal—food pantries, children and homelessness, assuring a child has a bed.
In addition to working at Florida Virtual School, I am a local Tallahassee author and I was asked by the Florida Department of Education if I’d like to volunteer to read a story of my choosing to the children. I was honored and selected one of my children’s favorite books, “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. As I sat on the green Capitol lawn reading to the sweet smiling faces, who were surely as happy to be outside on this beautiful day as I was, I thought, this is the way it always should be—children soaking in the love and attention and encouragement from the world.
Or at least their small part of it.
Before I left, I walked inside the Capitol Rotunda to see the tens of thousands of paper cut-outs of children’s hands that were hung. Seeing these colorful little hands brings joy to the eyes, but they also are a tangible reminder of what every child should have—the promise to grow and have a bright future.
Why yes, I am a mother, and a writer who likes to share the brokenness and beauty of life, and I’m someone who is proud to work for a Florida public school district that advocates for children’s learning and development. Won’t you join me in helping to keep the focus on our children so that every week is children’s week?