From the Blog ...


Protecting Children 

By Jeanette Harder

We all need to be safe. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is even more important than our needs for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Safety is second only to having our most basic needs met (e.g., food, water, shelter).

I remember feeling safe as a child during thunderstorms, even tornadoes—as long as my parents were nearby and I had my pillow. I remember feeling safe at church, surrounded by adults and children who cared about me and valued me.

As a young adult in the Netherlands, I remember not feeling safe when the embassy called putting us on high alert for terrorism. Years later, I remember not feeling safe my first night in Nicaragua when I thought bombs were going off overhead (I learned in the morning that it was fireworks) and when I thought men were pounding on the gate to our complex. What are your memories of safety?

We all need to be safe. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is even more important than our needs for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Safety is second only to having our most basic needs met (e.g., food, water, shelter).

I remember feeling safe as a child during thunderstorms, even tornadoes—as long as my parents were nearby and I had my pillow. I remember feeling safe at church, surrounded by adults and children who cared about me and valued me.

As a young adult in the Netherlands, I remember not feeling safe when the embassy called putting us on high alert for terrorism. Years later, I remember not feeling safe my first night in Nicaragua when I thought bombs were going off overhead (I learned in the morning that it was fireworks) and when I thought men were pounding on the gate to our complex. What are your memories of safety?

Similar to security, “safety” can be defined as “protected from harm or other nondesirable outcomes.” We want our organizations to be safe. At a most basic level, this includes following codes, meeting standards, and following policies. But safety isn’t always so straightforward nor is it universal. Safety is subjective, based on personal characteristics like age, gender, and life experiences. What feels safe for one person may not feel safe for another.

When we feel unsafe, we often feel powerless; we may withdraw, or be paralyzed, or fight back. When we feel safe, we can be curious, learn, and grow—attributes that we especially want to foster in our children and youth.

As faith communities, we need to invest time and resources into making children and youth feel safe. It takes intentionality to consider basic childproofing for young children, relational safety for school-age children (e.g., bullying), and child abuse prevention for children and youth of all ages ...

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Dove's Nest's mission is to empower and equip faith communities to keep children and youth safe in their homes, churches, and communities. "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children" (Luke 18:16 NLT).