Posts in "Parenting" tag

Through These Experiences

I love the law and now realize that my purpose as I move through these experiences is to ensure that our laws are applied to the best of our ability in serving the needs of children and of safe, loving and available parents.

Children deserve the best of both parents.

~ Deb

Sweet Success and Overcoming the Desire for Revenge

It was a woman – a poet  – I studied in college as an English major at Belhaven University – who first referenced success being sweetest to those who didn’t succeed. I’ll supplement with this, whether it was in a personal relationship, in a sports competition or a business endeavor…doesn’t matter. It still stings and makes us want to counter-attack or jab back at that person. Our instinct says triumph over those who did wrong by us or to those we love and protect, or took a victory we believed to be ours.
 
Emily Dickinson doesn’t actually use the word revenge, but hints at it with words and phrases such as took the Flag, victory, distant strains of triumph, and agonized, suggesting an intense struggle or even war. Diehard golfers can relate to these words and thoughts about defeat and the satisfaction of winning the next round. They also know that the ugly desires of revenge don’t make for the best clarity during competition, and tournament winners don’t tell the crowd that wanting revenge is what helped them succeed that day.

What can I say?

You know if you’ve read my articles or pleadings that I am at war with those who would do harm to children, including my own, because it’s profitable for those who exploit and do wrong. Agony is assured for those targeted by the wrong-doers. Causing agony for innocent people because of greed and a lack of humanity is a terrible thing. Causing agony for children? Let’s talk off-line about that. But the messaging against those I refer to as bad actors, is – on its face – not in line with what children need to see and hear. And so goes the need for this post, as a qualifier or preface to my work. It’s also an admission that I struggle with work-life balance.

To our children

Should you stumble across this as adults, my wish for you all is that the messaging of this mission softens your hearts, opens your minds but does not cause you any worry. Empathy is good, but fear should be given to God, shared with a counselor you trust, and left behind you.  Allow the good in this mission to resonate for you as you come across others in life struggling with something that may not be apparent from a distance or publicly.
 
For so many years I’ve worked tirelessly, and for the most part without interference, to insulate my own children from the stress I feel from another’s angry need for control, desire to demean and destabilize. I do not want them to know the truth of this battle. They have learned on the positive side, however, that other parents and children need an advocate who really understands the situation they’re in, and a confident, calm voice because what they are experiencing is, let’s say, unhealthy at best. It is draining work on the personal front and professionally. It doesn’t pay well, either, but higher pay is not what drives those of us involved in advocacy work to improve society and systems. Regardless of pay, title or recognition, it is still important & rewarding work.
 
It is the morning of my twins 16th birthday and I do not know how they are doing or where they are; that information is being kept from me and it feels terrible. I say this not because I need your sympathy or because I am seeking vengeance against those causing this pain, distress and uncertainty, but because this is what thousands of parents like me across the country – and world – are experiencing. For the most part it is a silent suffering, an epidemic without a diagnosis, but I promise you it is real – and devastating. It is an infliction that harms children, which is easily understood by reading the language in a piece of legislation before the Florida legislators. Thank God someone of influence recognized the pathology and lasting damages to children to influence legislators to include these facts in a bill. Thank you, Florida doctors, advocates and policymakers. Whether the bill is passed and enacted this year or not, it is crucial to press forward as this recognition, or mandate for certified counselors, can save lives.
 
It is not unlike the kind of suffering, in a much different way of course, by parents torn from their children by Natzi Germany and by modern-day traffickers of children or the keepers of the global slave trade. Regardless of country or time-period or nationality, the impact is the same. It is ugly – and caused by ill-intentioned people motivated by hate and greed. The image above of what could be a holding place designated for isolating parents away from children should evoke harsh emotions in you, including a desire to do something to the controllers breaking the bonds between those parents and their children.
This is not the article I wanted to write on the weekend of my beloved twins’ 16th birthday. Even with this prolonged and deep pain, I am not seeking revenge. Justice would be great, yes. But revenge belongs to God.

Call to action:

For our children to rise above conflict and heal beyond their circumstances, they need our leadership. They need an example that doesn’t keep them mired in suspicion, doubt or threat. Be successful for the sake of leading our children and the children of others who, for the moment, are unable to be that example.
Thank you for reading and for lending your support to those around you,

Poem about Success being Sweet

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne'er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

 

Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear of victory

  


As he defeated – dying –

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Burst agonized and clear!
Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON: READING EDITION, edited by Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Our Most Important Role

I first wrote this post in response to seeing how children are reacting to their parents going at each other, choosing to fight and litigate in courtrooms rather than putting their time, energy and financial resources into being available and providing more of what children need.

Children need our attention, and they need to see in our faces that all is ok. That we are ok in spite of what is going on around us.

Can you tune everything out and focus on giving a child, your own or someone else’s, what they need in this moment?

If you can, that makes you a special someone to this child looking to you for understanding, for the right words or just for your shoulder, your ear or a hand to hold.

Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

In almost every case or situation brought to my attention, there is a child at risk – at risk of not getting these basic needs filled. In some of those cases, the risk involves emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and even sexual abuse.

Often I see that basic needs are not being met, or there is emotional abandonment along with increased stress, and this is happening because parents are persuaded to focus their time and attention elsewhere, when the most important thing in their world…this child…is going without.

Stay present in the moment.

No matter how frustrating, difficult or lonely your situation may be, make a point to look regularly into the eyes of the child who needs you to be all in, connected to what it on his or her mind.

Listen and look into his or her eyes for your clue as to what it is you are supposed to provide to make things better. Sometimes it is just your ability to be patient and available that brings peace.

If someone or something pulls at you or tempts you to ignore, to be too busy, to be missing from this child, trust your love and your gut to instead provide what is needed now for this child, as this is what will last a lifetime.

Now, months after writing this post, I am updating it to add that when I began studying the impact on children of family conflict and what is worsening and prolonging conflict, it became apparent that more and more children are being destabilized, even being set up to fail in how their parents are treated in court cases. We can see how mental health is being eroded as parents become LESS available while uncertainty increases.

These are the children who are becoming vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking, and this path to devastation is one we can turn around. But we need your help!

Get involved with Safe Harbor and the organizations such as Youth Spark and others in your community working to stop exploitation of our children and to help victims of trafficking recover.

Thank you!

Deb Beacham

Focusing Parents on What Matters

Just Listen_My Advocate Center

It’s so easy to get lost in keeping up appearances, competing or trying to get the upper hand or trying to defend our positions that we forget about what matters.

Our kids need our focus on them, their safety, peace of mind and the assurance that we have things covered; it is not up to them to make us feel calm, confident, supported or reassured.

This video puts a fun spin on how we treat each other as parents, and on how we deal with our differences. Click the link below to the “Boys Germs” Facebook page and look for the video to the left. Enjoy!

This parenting clip is brilliant…must watch to the end!!

Posted by Boys Germs on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Protecting Even the Little Things, Like Freedom

You would never expect me to say freedom is a little thing, would you?

For many parents, children, grandparents and even for their advocates, freedom to speak and freedom to protect are rights that we can lose, even right here in the U.S.A. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, so we’re not prepared for it when this happens.

It’s not the best news to share that this is happening to us, no matter what we have going for us, no matter where we live or how innocent or good we are. We just don’t talk about it openly, and typically because we’re told not to… But when this silencing of parents and children happens…to avoid exposure and reporting of misconduct…what you see from the outside is a look of confusion, shock, depression or something you might say is off, but whatever it is, you want no part of it!

So I appreciate little things like being able to take rides on any open road, to open windows and to feel the cool air, and to enjoy kids waving their arms and singing loudly.  They should always have this freedom to be kids and to be unencumbered with news of the challenges we adults face.

If you know how to make this easier for them…and have the means to support families in protecting these freedoms and the childhood pleasures most of us have taken for granted, please use your voice.

Help us keep the freedoms of childhood as they should be — building blocks for a healthy life.

Deb Beacham_Freedom to be a kid

Please connect with me here and off-line if you have ideas you’d like to share!

Thank you,

Deb Beacham

Deb Beacham

 

Just Listen

Just Listen_My Advocate Center

Talk less and listen more.   Probably the best lesson I’ve learned in recent years.

Not easy when you have much to say and believe in what you’re doing;  it seems so obvious but alas it is still hard to practice on a consistent basis.

As I was just pondering the near silence I started listening trying to determine the one sound in my environment…and I realized that is probably the biggest skill that we fail to employ at the most critical moments in our lives.

As a parent I have to pause in giving instructions and asking if teeth have been brushed, or reading assignments or chores done…and just listen and enjoy their facial expressions.   Gauging what they need from me as they share something…being able to understand that need and give it to them is a gift.   For my children and for me.

Listening to fellow entrepreneurs, like last night out to dinner, gave me the same feeling.   They are brilliant in describing how they are going to transform a society or move a market, and it is a gift to be able to hear that and to applaud them.

Just listen…

Deb Beacham