Today my brother in law is dead. Whether by his own hand or the hand of another we do not know, and that really isn’t even what matters. What matters is that he is 16 years old and he is dead. And you and I and other people just like you and me are responsible. Chad was a forgotten child. He was the quiet boy that sat in the back of the classroom when he even showed up at all. His clothes where raggedy and sometimes dirty. Maybe you thought he didn’t care. Maybe you thought he was trouble. Did you ever look close enough to see his sweet, sweet soul or his pain. He loved to skateboard and he was pretty good at it too. He was quiet and shy and smart and funny. But he was hurt and angry and depressed and life at home was difficult. Maybe you knew that his life at home was bad, maybe you only suspected or maybe you didn’t care. But I cared. I won’t forget him. Do you know a Chad?
I knew that Chad’s father was not around, unavailable and unable to sustain a loving relationship with his children. I knew that his mother was so angry with her children’s father that she let that anger rule her life. I knew she had addiction problems. I knew that his sister parented him and shielded him from their mother’s anger, to the best of her abilities, but she was still just a child as well. If I lived 500 miles away and knew this why didn’t the neighbors, the school, his friends, his community know? I made 2 child protective hotline calls when I knew of specific incidences that could be verified it anyone took the time to look and ask questions. No one investigated. Because he is a forgotten child.
I keep asking myself, why? Why did his community fail him. If they knew why didn’t they call? Why didn’t you call? Why did you not try to save Chad? I tried. Why did you turn the other way and tell yourself that it wasn’t your problem. Maybe you called police or child protective, and called until you got tired of no one doing anything about it so you just stopped calling. You just forgot about it and you forgot about Chad. But I won’t ever forget.
The calls were made. By me, by the school, maybe by the neighbors and the police. But you ignored it because Chad was forgettable, you see kids just like him everyday. And you just don’t care. Shame on you Child Protective Services, shame on you! Did you look? Did you try? Did you care? No. How many times were you called about these children and you just looked the other way. And now Chad is dead. He was a forgotten child. But I won’t forget him.
And I don’t want the world to forget him either. Do you know a Chad? One of the forgotten children? Do you make the call or look the other way? Do you decide to get involved or do you just forget about it because it isn’t any of your business? Do you reach out to the hurting children in your corner of the world? Can you take the time to listen? Can you take the time to care? The world if full of forgotten children. The world is full of Chads can you save yours? Because I couldn’t save mine. I won’t forget. Will you forget?
If this is important to you, if this touches your heart, please pass it on. Maybe you can save a life. Copy it and paste it into an email or just send a link. Please you may save a life