The Lesson of the Pinwheel

Friday, April 8, 2011

As many of you know, the pinwheel has become the new symbol for child abuse prevention…the vision for childhood in a sense. We use pinwheels during many of our events in April, as well as throughout the rest of the year. We always have a “kick-off” at the beginning of April to launch our celebration of Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a part of this event, we plant hundreds of pinwheels at a designated (and populated) area. This year we planted in front of the Indiana State Museum. Not only do people see them as they’re walking and driving by, it’s also a great spot for all of the “goings on” around the Final Four! As the pinwheels turn and glimmer in the sunlight, people slow down as they drive, and stop and look as they walk.

The Kick-Off was a great success, and the decision was made to keep the pinwheels planted so that people could enjoy them, and so that our symbol for prevention could be sustained. Then came Sunday night. Spring in Indiana can be unyielding at times, and the weather on Sunday was even beyond the typical spring storms we usually have to endure. The wind and the rains were dangerous and torrential, and it appeared as though anything in this storm’s path would be laid victim to it. Monday still held rain for us, but as the week progressed, things started looking up. On Tuesday, a colleague of mine and I were talking about having to go and pick-up the pinwheels, but also joked that in reality, they were probably somewhere on the East Coast by now. Then an eye witness came upon the scene and reported that not only were the pinwheels still in Indiana, they were still planted in the ground! Well this I had to see. I went to the lawn of the State Museum on Wednesday, and there they were…still glimmering and turning in the wind…almost all 1,000 of them. I have to be honest and say I got a little choked-up that they were all still standing, and then I personified and thanked them for their tremendous effort. It’s as if they knew they had a cause to represent, and they refused to be blown down. Some of them had their “backs” to the wind, while others were broken and shredded, but they were still standing. It sort of reminded me of the work we all do to insure the rights of children. We certainly have to face some very heavy “storms”… storms that try to knock us down or blow us away, but we need to be reminded of the lesson of these little pinwheels, and just keep turning with the wind, and keep standing up to it.

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