Enjoyed the read

EDITOR: Really enjoyed the op-ed page yesterday. An editorial writer professed to be writing about nothing in particular ('Sometimes, inspiration is the hardest'), and a letter writer professed to be writing importantly ('Am I an agent of the devil?') about something.

Whimsical nothingness opposed to terrifying somethingness. Wow!

But it turns out the editorial writer, who said'... every now and then, I get into a mood in which I just don't seem to want to write about anything' was writing about something; and Mr. Pierce, on the other hand, who asked us to imagine that (if) 'I was sent here by the devil ...,' was writing about nothing.

One wrote about the arid times when it's hard to find something useful to say and thereby saying very interesting things about knowing when not to say something.

The other wrote with a tooth grinding passion about nothing (real) in my overly generous opinion.

One wrote about something clearly and reasonably. The other wrote at length about nothing ... but you had to be listening to hear the difference.

What fun!

The Rev. Douglas Stearns, formerly minister of the Towanda Universalist Unitarian Fellowship


Educate your kids

EDITOR: To our educators, parents, coaches, church leaders, professionals and everyone who interacts with children regularly. It seems we have done a great job at teaching children about personal safety when it comes to strangers but we are falling short of teaching them that they can be hurt by people they know, love and trust. The facts are clear; children are more likely to be abused by someone they know. As someone who interacts with children every day, I have seen this statistic first hand. Kids are great at articulating what they should do if a stranger tries to approach them but when asked what they would do if someone they know, love and trust attempts to violate them, they are baffled; this is a disturbing reality. It is our responsibility to teach our children as well as protect them. Unfortunately, as parents, we all know we cannot be with them every moment of every day; this is especially true of adolescents and teenagers. Every parent wants to protect their child but good parents also know that promoting independence and autonomy are important as well. How do we, as a society, teach our children to protect themselves? I encourage every parent, grandparent, educator, coach, church leader and professional to start talking to kids early. Develop an open line of communication with these children, not talking about things such as this is not an option. Everyone is uncomfortable with having these conversations with children but the fact remains that if we don't talk to them early, they are more likely to be abused. If you are in question of how often this happens, read the newspaper every day for one week and I will guarantee you will see at least one to two reports of a child being abused by someone they know. These horrible realities are not restricted to urban or rural areas; they happen everywhere in our country and are not exclusive to any race, creed or gender.

There are currently, 103 offenders registered on Megan's Law in Bradford County. These numbers do not include the people out there who have not been caught, nor do they include the many offenders who have made plea agreements which do not include a Megan's Law registry.

The answer is not to completely shelter your children and not allow them to experience the world in an effort to protect them. The answer is to educate them, talk to them and ensure they know it's ok to tell, even if they are threatened, feel ashamed or embarrassed.

There are many sites on the internet dedicated to raising awareness, a few are: preventchildabuse.org (Prevent Child Abuse America), childwelfare.gov (Child Welfare Information Gateway), nsvrc.org (National Sexual Violence Resource Center).

There are also community resources you can utilize to assist you in teaching your children. The Child Advocacy Center (570-265-4132, childrenshousepa.org) and Children and Youth Services (570-265-1760) are just a couple of FREE community resources available.

I implore you to use the resources available and TEACH the children involved in your life about the realities of this important issue!

Jessica Morse