blogblock_sarahself2When I first began working at SCAN over ten years ago, I did not have children but was passionate about the work we were doing in the community to prevent child abuse and neglect. As years went by – and my family grew to include three young children – not only did I begin to have a more emotional connection to the things we were working on, but I also started to see a pattern in the messages we shared with parents and community members. Whether we were launching a new parenting class or distributing fact sheets at a community fair, we were often helping families learn how to better express their love. Helping a father see the power of saying, “I love you” every day to his son. Empowering a concerned neighbor to show love and support for a struggling parent next door. Encouraging a mother to believe in and love herself enough to practice self-care and not be afraid to ask for help.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t think of a better time to ask you to share a little bit of that love.

As an employee, I’ve always loved my work at SCAN. But as a mother, I will be forever grateful to have heard those messages of love first-hand and I’m quite certain they got me through some of my most challenging days as a new mom. I used to take my eldest son (now 8!) to one of SCAN’s early playgroups, at first just to learn more about the program, but soon found myself attending for the information on child development, for the voices so similar to mine who were facing daily challenges, for a reminder that I didn’t have to do it all alone or be embarrassed to ask for help.

If only every parent could connect with SCAN’s programs and support in some way – what a difference that could make to the thousands of families in our region!

In the next week, we invite you to share love for a parent you know by telling them you admire their hard work or offering to help in some small way. If you’re a parent, make a special effort to express your love to your child. We’ve collected some fantastic, creative ideas over on Pinterest here and invite you to check them out. Also be sure to visit the Attachment & Bonding page over on our Parent Resource Center this month.

Love is certainly in the air. Let’s make sure every family possible gets to take a nice long, deep breath this month.

~ Sarah Self, Public Education Coordinator at SCAN of Northern Virginia

p.s. Have any special ideas for sharing love with a child or parent? I hope you’ll share in the comments section below!

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