Last summer a frustrated teen-ager punched his little sister in the stomach after taking her pencil while waiting in a hot automobile for a parent at an auto parts store. This torment was about to be repeated as people in the parking lot heard him yell and her cry. Yes, it is uncomfortable to watch the mistreatment of a child by a juvenile out of control, but it doesn’t inspire many people to get involved.

Some of us can empathize with the teen by reflecting back on experiences as a big brother or sister placed in charge of a misbehaving younger sibling.

Recently in Duncan, Okla., a 7-month-old child drowned in a tub when the mother went to sleep. What tragic consequences. Not only did she lose her baby and all the future joys that child would bring to her life, she is now facing the rest of her life behind bars for a few moments of irresponsibility.

According to statistics, it’s hard to convict a person of causing a child’s death as there is so much room for doubt as to intention. Was it an accident, unforeseen and unpredictable? Was it something over which she had no control, or was it is avoidable?

It takes courage to prevent child abuse. It takes caring and awareness to make a difference before a child suffers. The most upsetting statistic of all is how often abuse is witnessed and ignored, felt and then forgotten, according to the American Prevent Child Abuse organization. On the other hand, an abused child never forgets.

Each April awareness and prevention of child abuse and neglect are promoted nationally, reminding us that we have the opportunity to become advocates, heroes and do the responsible thing. There are volunteer opportunities, neighbors and relatives that need a break or helping hand, ways to divert attention by conversation, and ways we can let our children know they are special and loved.

In the words of a song, “What will you do?”