Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

MomsRising: When imaginary goblins aren't the only worries for kids

Posted October 26, 2010 8:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2010 9:30 p.m. EDT

It’s getting to be a spooky time of year! While my kids have a blast pretending there’s monsters in the closet or vampires lurking outside in the bushes, I’m grateful for this time in their lives when the scariest things they have to worry about are imaginary goblins.

Too many days I open the paper only to wish I’d never looked. Since becoming a mother, it seems I’m much more aware of the pain and suffering of kids everywhere. Whether it’s hunger, illness, abuse or lack of opportunity, it breaks my heart when I read of the challenges children face. There’s something very universal about the experience of being a mother. You can imagine only too well the fear and stress of a mother in a difficult situation trying to do the very best for her kids.

A friend at Action for Children sent me some troubling numbers recently. In North Carolina alone, more than 440,000 children live in poverty, 345,000 are without health insurance, 68 percent score below proficient in reading, and three out of 10 will not graduate with their class. Fifteen thousand children were abused or neglected in 2007; 25 of them died.

While the Halloween-centered fears of my children live only in their imaginations, these nightmares are all too real. And with the state budget deficit looming, the programs that try to address these problems are in grave danger.

I and other MomsRising members were proud to join Action for Children, several other organizations, and members of the community earlier this month at the annual Step Up and Act for Children event. We were reminding lawmakers that investing in children’s futures is even more critical in hard times like these. We need them to find the courage to protect the programs North Carolina's children depend on to give them a strong start in life.

When I was a kid, the Ghostbusters movie was all the rage with its signature line, “Who ya gonna call?” In trying times like these, our state’s kids are calling on all of us to make the bad things go away.

While I can’t make all the boogeymen go away, by speaking out for kids in this year’s budget process I can do my part to ensure that imaginary monsters are the worst North Carolina's kids will have to face. I hope you’ll join me!

Beth Messersmith is a mother of two in Durham, NC and a member of MomsRising. Find her here one Wednesday a month.