Our Kids Need Protecting, Not Our Community

Keep Child Safety “The Main Thing”

A magnificent quote by Stephen R. Covey is, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Covey is reminding us to keep the main thing (what we profess to hold as our most important core value in life) the main thing (what should supersede all the other demands on our time and energy).

We all want to have deep, meaningful relationships with our children. We also want to hang out with our friends, get ahead at work, and check our smartphones.

The rubber meets the road, though, when those two goals conflict with each other. Will we regularly give our children the undivided attention that is so important for their growth and self-confidence, or will we allow other things to distract us from that sacred responsibility?

Members of our community are understandably feeling humiliated and even under siege from the negative press directed our way in the wake of child abuse scandals, and some are vigorously defending the honor of our society by blaming the media and by trying to suppress discussion of this matter.

However, those who are toiling to promote the public relations of our community without expending at least an equal amount of their energy improving child safety are making our public image worse not better, for they are just hammering home the points our detractors are making.

Our community is not getting bad press because we have child molesters. Sadly, every society in the world has its share. We are getting slammed precisely because some folks seem to care more about our reputation and less about the safety of our children and the trauma of abuse survivors.

Our public image will dramatically improve when we direct our focus inward; reporting abusers to the authorities, encouraging victims to come forward without fear of retribution, helping them get professional counseling, and making research-based, child safety training for children, parents and educators a top priority.

Let’s keep child safety the “Main Thing.”

Everything else will fall into place once that happens.

About the Author
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founding dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and director of Bright Beginnings, is an innovative educator, author, and child safety advocate. He is the publisher of two child safety books that are in over 120,000 homes in three languages, as well as the groundbreaking Bright Beginnings Gemara and Chumash workbooks that are in over 100 schools. He received the prestigious 2008 Covenant Award in recognition of his contribution to Jewish education. His most recent project is the Bright Beginnings Under-a-Minute Parenting Clips posting daily videos by Rabbi Horowitz on a wide range of topics on Instagram @brightbeginningsforum, and via WhatsApp by messaging “Sign-Up” to 845-540-2414. Rabbi Horowitz conducts child abuse prevention and parenting workshops in Jewish communities around the world.
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