LAW OFFICE MONAST
www.monastlaw.com | 614-334-4649 | 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd. Bldg 2, Suite 2117, Upper Arlington, OH 43220-2913
JUST THE WAY YOU ARE GIVING KIDS A BRIGHTER FUTURE
I recently learned that Jan. 13 is Make Your Dreams Come True Day. When I first heard about this holiday, I thought of the old glib answer,“That’s obvious! World peace.”But I put a little extra thought into the idea and realized my dream is a little more complicated than that. It really hit me when I was listening to an audiobook about Fred Rogers, creator of“Mister Rogers’Neighborhood.”I learned that Mr. Rogers would always tell little kids,“I like you just as you are.”My dream is for every child to know they are loved and cared for. These words are such a big deal for little kids to hear. I know it would have meant a lot to me when I was young. I often felt isolated and alone growing up. My family fought all the time. Alcoholism, mental health issues, and physical abuse made for a scary environment to grow up in. I would just hide out in my room and read to escape. These feelings of loneliness continued when I went to school. I was a shy, nerdy kid. When we moved to Ohio at the start of junior high, I had a strong Southern accent and got bullied a lot. It wasn’t a good time and it would have made a huge difference had I felt likable just as I was. When my kids were born, it was very important for me to break that cycle. I wanted my children to feel safe and know they are loved. With my sons, I also taught them to stand up for others. My boys gained a reputation at their school for being the ones who would stand up for kids who were getting picked on because they were different. Years ago, I got a call from the school after my oldest son got in a fight with a boy twice his size. Turns out, the other boy was picking on some kid and my son told the bully if he didn’t stop, he’d have to answer to my son. The bully didn’t stop and when my son popped him, they got into a tussle. I couldn’t have been prouder. I don’t condone picking fights, but I believe in standing up for others and standing up for what you believe in. The Bible talks about turning the other cheek, but that assumes you have the ability to take that second hit. Not everyone does, so it’s important that we look out for each other, especially those who aren’t as strong as we are. While hard times can help us grow, there’s a difference between going through something hard and going through something horrendous. No child should have to face something horrendous, which is why my wife and I support an organization called Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.).
This is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing children from sex trafficking. As difficult as my childhood was, I cannot imagine the nightmare some children are forced into. O.U.R. comprises former Special Ops soldiers and past and current law enforcement who work with governments around the world. They help to rescue children, aid in survivors’recovery, and arrest perpetrators. Since the organization was founded in 2013, they’ve been able to rescue over 3,000 victims and arrest over 1,600 traffickers around the world. It would be nice to protect kids from all the hideousness in the world, but that’s just impossible. This doesn’t mean we’re completely powerless. We can support organizations that do good, teach children to stand up for others, and follow the example set by Fred Rogers by letting kids know they’re loved and cared for just the way they are.
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