October Domestic violence awarenessOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we are now all too aware of the litany of recent incidents of National Football League players being accused of extreme violence against their girlfriends, wives and young children.

Most recently our own Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested in Phoenix on numerous charges of assaults on both his wife and 18 month-old toddler. Both victims suffered trauma at the hands of a violent, out of control man.

According to a database compiled by USA Today (Az Republic, Sept 21, 2014), at least 90 NFL players have been arrested on charges of domestic violence since 2000. Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, a state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, opposes family violence in all its forms.

Whether one is a highly paid sports star in the national spotlight, or a struggling parent working long hours just to get by – you are your children’s role model. All of us carry the memories of our parents with us through out life – either trying to be like them or trying not to. Their influence, good or bad, lives with us throughout life.

Being a parent means your children really need you to be their hero. It is undoubtedly the hardest job we will ever sign up for. But the rewards are incalculable.

Every day we learn more and more about how children are shaped by us as parents:

Fact: From the earliest days of life, every human interaction builds wiring of the infant brain, which is pretty much complete in the first thousand days of childhood. Cells that fire together, wire together.

Fact: Experiencing repeated trauma in the early years can change brain architecture and functioning for a lifetime. Adverse childhood experiences make us sick, even contributing to early death.

Fact: Violence in the home is traumatizing to children, whether directly experienced or witnessed. Children exposed to violence in the home are far more likely to become violent adults.

Children best learn good behavior from wise, loving, consistent adults who are patient and kind. All of us fail at this job in ways we regret, from time to time.

Most parents need help to be the best they can be – today more resources are available to parents raising children than ever before.

Violence is all too prevalent in families in America today. But all of us can do something about that, at home, at work and in our communities.

Sports stars are people who we look up to as our heroes. Let them show us their strength by accepting responsibility and becoming heroes to their kids and families.

We are all looking to them to see how strong they really are.