Be Kind.

This week’s post is going to be different and much of it will be in someone else’s words. Last week, 20/20 aired a two-hour special on the Turpin child abuse case. This case hits close to home because this is the field I work in. I help run a child abuse clinic and I work alongside clinicians (paediatricians, nurse practitioners, psychologists and social workers) who play a huge part in speaking for children who cannot speak for themselves. I’m passionate about where I work and the population we serve because these little patients deserve responsible adults to act in their best interest when so many others have failed them.

In her interview, Diane Sawyer sat down with two of the Turpin daughters, Jennifer and Jordan. Jennifer is the eldest of the thirteen siblings and Jordan is the hero who courageously escaped the only place she knew as ‘home’ in order to get help for her ailing siblings (some of which were on death’s door). My husband and I watched in absolute horror as the girls recounted, in painful detail, their years of horrific abuse and cruelty at the hands of the people who were supposed to love them infinitely. I won’t retell their story here as this case has been widely featured on all the major media networks already and accessible for all to search.  

What I wanted to share and one of the major take-aways from this, for me, were the words of Jennifer Turpin’s classmate. Her last year of attendance in school was grade three and her classmate at the time was Taha Muntajibuddin. When he (along with the world) learned about what eventually became of his former classmate’s life, he publicly posted a profound call-to-action on Facebook. I am inspired to share his heartfelt letter and I think it should be read by everyone. Below is an excerpt:

Reading Taha Muntajibuddin’s words, I can’t help but believe this all starts at home: the teaching of kindness and compassion, of awareness and understanding. Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, caring, and loving household where healthy meals await, warm baths are drawn, and a great bedtime story tops off the end of a jubilant day. This is where children should be taught about privilege and the power of friendship. You simply never know what someone else is going through. Be kind.


28 thoughts on “Be Kind.

  1. I had not heard of this case; but we all know of similar children and wonder why the adults at the school did not act to follow up or contact someone. If a child has actually made it to school is their only point of contact with the outside world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the Turpin story was just terrible and heartbreaking. But the message from Taha is so powerful. I am sure those words were not easy to write, but hopefully they represent something good that can come from something so awful…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Turpin story is horrifying yet needs to be discussed. We as a society need to learn from it, about the abuse around us, hidden but not. I think the former classmate’s call-to-action on Facebook is one of the best things I’ve read in ages. Honest and powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was unfamiliar with the Turpin case until I watched some of the 20/20 show. My biggest takeaway was a reminder not to judge anyone else because we have no idea of their circumstances. Everyone deserves to be treated decently.

    I saw kids come to school without adequate food or clothing many times. Instead of judging the parents or the kids, we teachers looked for ways to help. One of the programs involved sending food bags home with needy children (a sensitive area, for sure) over the weekend and more extended vacations. Unclaimed clothing from one year was used to help cloth children the next. (Imperfect systems, but I’d like to think they helped.)

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    • That’s such a thoughtful program! I’m certain many families were helped and felt like they mattered to someone. We need more intuitive, compassionate and considerate teachers in the school systems like you, Pete!


    • Thank you, I think so too. It’s a reality that’s hard to reconcile… There are actually cruel people in the world who hurt the most vulnerable in our society. More than ever, it’s so important that if we see something, say something.


  5. Wow, I had not heard of this story. It’s heartbreaking to know that kids are suffering. I completely agree that kindness, empathy, and compassion start at home! As a child, I didn’t have tons of “stuff,” but I was surrounded by adults that led by example, reminded me to be kind, and came down to my level to talk to me when I was being unkind. I’m not a parent myself, but I get the impression that it’s a full time job (and then some), and I think kindness is hands-down the most important topic for kids to learn. One kind act can make all the difference. ❤️

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  6. Thank you, Jen! This is a powerful story, full of sadness and a call to action – be kind. It is that simple and that important. What a letter by her former classmate! I remember ‘cootie kids’ at school, and I am ashamed to say that I scoffed at them. You make a good point that kindness starts at home. Giving kindness to your children is one thing, teaching them to give kindness to others, even the ‘cootie kids’, is equally important.

    Keep doing your good work, and be a voice for children. I have a lump in my throat and deep gratitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t heard of the Turpin case. I will go educate myself….

    The words of Taha remind me that one of the training videos I watched as a cafeteria cashier for the middle school was on recognizing and reporting abuse. I felt better knowing, as the video said, the law stated that all adults must watch for it and report it if they suspect abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

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