By Jennifer Kaysen
My sons have always loved suiting up in whichever costume fit their super power needs for the day. Some days one may need hulk strength (oh, how I wish he’d channel that ‘strength’ into something a bit more productive like cleaning his playroom.); another, Superman – reliably saving Mommy from a day of doing absolutely nothing; and my favorite, Batman – the dark knight always serving as my protector.
When I first heard about CASA’s Superhero 5K and Family Fun Day, I knew in an instant the boys would jump at the opportunity to sport their favorite heroes. After they settled in from school, I sat them down and brought up a subject no one is comfortable with talking about … Not that!
I’m talking about child abuse and neglect. As much as I’d love my sons to believe that everything that happens around them is pure and beautiful, reality proves a different case. My oldest, a 10 year old with the mind of an adult, was the first one I approached.
“What do you think child abuse is, son?”
He replied, “Child abuse is when a kid gets hurt by someone very badly. It makes them feel bad and they can get bruises.”
“Do you know why child abuse happens?” I asked.
“Because their parents are probably mad at them and angry,” he said.
Second in line was my eight year old with a heart of gold.
I asked him, “What do you think, baby? Some kids don’t have meals or families in addition to what your brother and I were talking about.”
He answered, “That’s sad, mom. Do they get Christmas presents or Kindle Fires?”
“I’m not sure, son. But, I know they’re hurting inside and that’s not something a Kindle Fire or present can fix.”
He looked down and said, “Why? Why do kids get hurt like that?”
Unable to provide him with an answer to that, I reassure him, “I’m not sure. But, we’re going to fight for them, okay? If these kids have someone to speak up for them, we can change it from happening.”
Last, but definitely not least, the ornery (but, oh-so-cute) 5-year-old.
“I’ll fight for them, mommy! I’m strong! I’m Batman!”
Just writing this, I’m fighting back tears. Children and adults have heroes. We all need someone to turn to who we can trust. A child that’s abused or neglected needs a superhero. A superhero is a hero that will go the extra mile to make sure they’re safe and cared for properly.
I then proceeded to tell the boys that CASA is holding a Superhero 5K run/walk to help the children that are being abused and neglected. Immediately, they began planning on who would wear what and what superhero powers they would posses to help protect the kids they were fighting for.
Please, grab your cape and fight with us! I guarantee you’ll have an amazing time and feel exactly like a superhero by participating in the fight.