Words of Wisdom: No Kidding

Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

This is serious.

If you are kidding, you’ve got to take care of them. Every kid deserves that. If you’re not going to do that, then No Kidding, please.

As a matter of fact, their proper name is “children.” The word “kid” was first recorded as slang used by 17th century criminals who sold stolen children to sea captains who then re-sold them as laborers and slaves in British colonies around the world. They used those children as if they were real kids—the accurate name for young goats—abused beasts of burden. No kidding!

Yet, even today, some children are abused. This is also no-kidding-serious, no joke, and not to be taken lightly. That’s why this week your Jamestown Gazette invites all of our readers to take part in Child Abuse Prevention Month, April 2021.

Jackie Kennedy once said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”
The definition of child abuse needs little explaining. It is simple, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Child abuse is “any act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm” to a child. That means neglect can be as abusive as maltreatment.

In fiscal year 2018, [the most recent statistics available from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)], nearly 680,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment. More than 60 percent were victims of neglect, 10 percent were physically abused, and seven percent were sexually abused. The remainder were victims of two or more maltreatments.

Whether or not you agree with the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” Child Abuse Prevention Month promises that our community can help protect its children.

This week’s cover story, contributed by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Chautauqua County, is a front-runner in that effort and deserves our readers’ support. CASA’s mission is “to provide an independent voice in court, advocating for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the pursuit of finding safe and permanent homes.”

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” said Frederick Douglass, escaped slave and later a renowned orator, writer, and statesman after the Civil War.

One of CASA’s contributions to the process of building strong children is their “Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign.” Pinwheels for Prevention is a national awareness campaign created by Prevent Child Abuse America urging people “to act to prevent childhood abuse and neglect by transforming awareness into action.”

As a result, we are urging our readers to read this week’s cover story with an eye toward making their own contribution to CASA and the entire community’s efforts to end child abuse.

Children, after all, can tell by watching when someone cares. They begin to pick up the cues at a very young age. The man who once told the world “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten," Robert Fulghum, said, “Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

But in this case, don’t worry if they’re watching. Just let your pinwheel say “I care about you” to the children of our community.

Enjoy the read.

Walter Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.