Daniel Morcombe’s parents Bruce and Denise have shown the most incredible courage and resilience through this hellish ordeal, and their bravery continues. They’re the first people to say they want Daniel to have a legacy. His legacy must be that our families are safer and the people we love can live their lives without constant fear.
Kate Hunter wrote this post on how we can keep our children safe.
This must be Daniel’s legacy. Please read it and share.
We should never have heard of Bruce Morcombe.
He should be running his business on the Sunshine Coast, making ‘dad jokes’ and helping his sons choose cars.
But we know Bruce, and his wife Denise, because their beautiful boy Daniel was abducted and murdered in 2003.
We don’t need to read more about the horrible day, or the eight years of not knowing what happened; or the fresh horror of knowing.
Now that a man – Brett Peter Cowan – has been charged and sent to jail, the media will again drip with fear and anger.
But astonishingly, it won’t come from Daniel’s parents.
They’ve taken their grief and turned it something positive, taking to the road for weeks at a time, visiting schools and talking about personal safety.
You’d think if anyone was going to say, ‘never let your kids out of your sight,’ it’d be them, but no.
Their message is one of community and empowerment. Kids should be able to walk to school, catch buses and go shopping, but they need to be taught how to avoid finding themselves in situations they can’t control.
Thanks to Bruce and Denise, and the foundation they set up in Daniel’s honour, Queensland schools implemented a personal safety program in 2012 – and it wasn’t about scaring kids and parents witless.
I contacted the foundation looking for information for this post and was humbled when Bruce called me. Not only is he a grieving dad, he’s a man on a mission, and he sent me a copy of the notes he uses when he and Denise visit schools. From those, and using the information available at the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, www.childsafety.org.au and www.beingsafetysmart.com.au, I’ve put together a summary of the Morcombes’ message to our kids:
Our son Daniel did not get a second chance. His legacy is that you can learn from this tragic event and make sure it does not happen again. Daniel has given you that second chance.
1. When you can, stay with a friend. Even if you have a fight with your mate, don’t go off alone.
2. Be observant. Notice who’s around you and what they’re doing.
3. Have a family password. Something like your favourite food – lasagne, for example. If a person says they are meant to pick you up, test them on the password.
4. With your parents, make a list of 5 adults you trust. If you ever feel uneasy about anybody or anything, tell one of these people and know you won’t get into trouble. If you feel you’re not being listened to, try someone else.
5. Don’t share information about yourself, like your hobbies or the name of your school with people you don’t know, online or in real life.
Bruce and Denise are more than figureheads – this has become their life’s work. Thousands of activities are planned, from walks to talks to picnics and bike rides, all designed to educate and empower kids. If you’d like to find out more, or make a donation click here.