See and Be Seen: The Power of Connections this Holiday Season | Prevent Child Abuse NC

Posted: December 22, 2022
By Sharon Hirsch, Prevent Child Abuse NC President & CEO 

This time of year, we often gaze upon our children’s eyes to see them lighting up with wonder and delight at the twinkling lights, the gifts waiting to be opened, and the stories of traditions being shared.   

Yet, I wonder, are we lighting up, too, when they see the magic of the season in our children’s eyes? Can our kids tell from our reactions that they are treasured and loved? 

Don’t you find it amazing when you see and hear messages being reinforced about a topic consistently in a short space of time? That’s happened to me recently. It’s clear the universe, or some higher power, was trying to tell me something about the power of really seeing people.  After nearly three years of physical isolation and rare in-person gatherings, we’re having more regular, in-person interactions. I’m seeing those gatherings with new eyes – and the power of being and feeling seen is palpable.   

Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s (PCANC) first in-person staff meeting in nearly three years was held in October. We had a packed agenda planned, yet as the team started gathering, the buzz of excitement in seeing one another – many new staff for the first time – was powerful. Our Executive Team huddled and quickly decided to adjust the agenda and just give space for folks to reconnect for the first 45 minutes. The smiles, laughter and positive vibes were almost tangible. 

In November, I had the pleasure of participating in Prevent Child Abuse America’s (PCA America) first in-person Chapter Directors meeting where we shared our work, new ideas, best practices and even laughter with one another. It was wonderful to be with my colleagues after not being together in person for nearly three years. As my counterpart in Florida, Chris Lolley, said, “it’s so good to be seen again!” 

We also celebrated the 50th anniversary of PCA America at the meeting and watched this video from PCA America’s anniversary gala featuring Oprah Winfrey.   

When asked what people in the room that night could do to help children now, Winfrey focused on making sure our children not only know we see them, but that we are thrilled to see them.  

“Every child is looking to see: do your eyes light up when I enter the room?” Winfrey asked. 

Shortly after, I saw these quotes shared on social media from influencers I respect.   

From Adam Grant:
“In hard times, people don’t want to be told to look on the bright side. They want to know you’re on their side. Even if you can’t help them feel better, you can always help them feel seen. The best way to support others is not to cheer them up. It’s to show up.”  

From Brené Brown:
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.”   

In their own ways, Winfrey, Grant and Brown each shared a Connections Matter message! 

As we get ready for the holiday break, let’s all do our best to make sure our children, families and friends know that we are thrilled to see them – and give one another the time and attention we’ve missed and craved these last few years.   

Because genuine Connections Matter, where we know we are truly seen, treasured and loved. 

From all of us at Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, Happy Holidays!



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