This week is Legacy week where we remember those who have lost their lives in war and contribute to the much needed effort that helps those left behind. Earlier this week the US President announced that the war in Iraq is officially over and all troops will be withdrawn by January. Today in Brisbane, another soldier who lost their life will be laid to rest.
Next week is Child Protection Week, where we continue in efforts to ensure all children are safe in their homes, at school and in care. We will look at statistics and see that the efforts are not in vain but are not stopping the problem. It will embarrass leaders, teachers, parents and families but is required to ensure the work currently done is working, is continued and is enhanced.
My eldest daughter turns 9 next Friday. Almost 9 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, blue eyed, blond baby girl. I was the proudest parent and immediately fell in love with my perfect bundle. She slept well, ate well, smiled often and was an absolute joy.
The following day, no one came to visit. Not one single person dropped in to see my gorgeous girl. No family, no friends, no one. I was in a room at the Cairns Base Hospital with two other new mums and no one visited them either. For most of the morning we were left wondering why.
Late in the morning when the midwives did the rounds and checked up on us, two of them commented on the terrible turn of events and expressed their shock at what had occurred. We had to ask them what on earth they were talking about. They both got up, went to the tv's in the room and quickly switched them on. Confronting us was the news that the World Trade Centre in America had been hit by a plane. Within seconds of us assimilating that information, a second plane hit the building. As one, we turned to our tiny, newborn babies and wondered.
What would their futures hold? Would they know the freedoms we had? Had we made a terrible mistake in bringing helpless children into the world at such a horrible time in history?
In the time since my first child was born, she has never known a day when Australia was not involved in conflict. She has alway lived with the knowledge that there are wars, we are a part of them, and lives will be lost. I find that fact extremely sad.
I can't shield my children from the real world. I can't keep them sheltered from the truth. My job as parent is to keep them safe while they are with me and to teach them how to make good choices when they are not. My role is simple. The world is not.
My hope this Legacy Week, is that while we continue to pledge our support to families suffering huge loses due to war, we also look at our reasons for being there, we think more of our children and the world they are living in, and we make different choices to prevent these losses.
As Child Protection Week looms, remember to reassure your kids that they are loved and you are proud of them. Continue to give them the tools required to contribute to society and make sure that you are leading by example by contributing your own time, money and passion to giving them a better community to grow up in.