Our little piece of Southwest Virginia has been reeling recently from the death of a little red-headed boy named Noah. Noah was reported missing by his mother on a Sunday, nearly two weeks ago. After a five day search, his body was found in the septic tank of his home. His body was laid to rest on Wednesday and yesterday, his parents were arrested for abuse and neglect of Noah and his baby sister. No further information has been released as to his cause of death. That is expected in a few weeks. A sad ending to a beautiful life that has touched so many hearts.
Teachers, family and friends of Noah described the five year old as having an infectious laugh and sweet smile. He loved sports and spider man, like most little boys. I have also heard that he dearly loved his little sister.
I began thinking about how many people have been touched by this little boy. How so many people helped search for him and prayed for him. I began to wonder if he had known this type of love and care in his short five years. I began to wonder if he was hugged often and told how special he was. I hope and pray that he was. I don’t know these things but I do know this. He is in a place now where the love he feels is overwhelming. He is being held by the One who created him. He is with the grandparents who went before him. He is not hurting or suffering.
The death of a child is not something we easily comprehend, especially if it could have been prevented. But in this case, I wondered if maybe God saw little Noah’s need for that remarkable love and He decided that He would give it to him a little early. Maybe he saw that the baby sister he adored needed to be saved and this would ensure that. I don’t have the answers, but take comfort in knowing God is holding Noah, like so many other little ones who became angels much too soon.
Having said that, I ask of you this:
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Pay attention to those around you who look like they are struggling. If you know of a parent who is barely staying afloat or a child who looks as their home life isn’t just right, do something.
Prevent Child Abuse America gives these tips on their website about how you can help:
- Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. Draw on your own experiences to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit or run errands, or just lend a friendly ear. Show you understand.
- Be a friend to a child you know. Remember their names. Smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school. Send them a card in the mail. Show you care.
- Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another’s children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block. Show that you are involved.
- Give your used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.
- Volunteer your time and money for programs in your community that support children and families, such as parent support groups, child care centers, and our state chapters and local Healthy Families America sites.
- Advocate for public policies, innovative programs and issues that benefit children and families.
And if you are that parent who can’t seem to cope, there is always, always help and there is no shame in asking. Talk to a friend, a family member or a pastor. Just let someone know you need help.