Posts in "Personal Growth" tag

Worthy of What You Need

Considering messages given to us as parents, and to our kids:

Aren’t you thankful that you don’t have to be perfect?

child learning how to make a pot on a pottery wheel, old potter

Has anyone told you that you DO have to be perfect in order to be worthy of their support, or of being believed?

Many of us grew up understanding that if we were “worthy” or “good enough” we would get the validation, time or support that we craved.  We missed out on something and became vulnerable as we went out into the world searching for what we felt we needed that was not given to us as children.

As adults many of us struggle with having love withheld – unconditional love – in marriages and relationships.   We might also struggle with an employer who withholds positive feedback or makes us feel like we somehow don’t measure up.  We feel the sting of missed opportunities or of a betrayal.

Being told that you don’t measure up, and therefore are not entitled to support – or that you are not worthy of being believed or even protected – is a tactic that we hopefully learn to recognize as we get older.

But this tactic only works for as long as we allow it to work.

Once we get it that we really do NOT need to be perfect, or to be exactly as someone else dictates to us, we can claim our worth.  We can expect to be treated better by those around us.

This is the phase I’m in with my children; helping them see that their value is not attached to their grades or to their level of sports competition, or to which friends they have or don’t have.

This is also a common theme with so many parents who talk to me about what they are facing as they work through conflict with each other and with family court professionals.

The rest of this note is for the many parents who are expressing to me or to My Advocate Center’s team that they are being told, You are so flawed that you can’t expect any better in this situation.”  They are hearing these comments directed at them as decisions are being made about parenting time and parenting rights.

Apparently you must be “perfect” to be allowed to make decisions about the care of your child, or to be allowed to freely nurture and give to your child.  Certain professionals claim authority and claim that in their perfect wisdom that they can tell you – the parent – that you do not measure up somehow, and that you must be fearful and in some cases be prepared to BUY time with your children.

Of course, no one is showing these parents what “perfect” looks like.  And parents in most cases are not given the chance improve upon their alleged shortcomings before finding out they’ve lost everything.  Many are not even allowed to see the results of their evaluations and tests to learn what their actual flaws and faults are…when those things are being used to take away CHILDREN.

No, it’s not right how these parents are being treated – and it’s not right what is being done to their children in the process.   

There is no “win” in this for the children, only for the professionals holding these families captive and able to control time, decision-making and all of the family’s financial resources.

And just imagine how the kids feel seeing their parents under this much stress?   If a parent is beaten down and made to believe they are not worthy, and have no rights and no chance, what do you think this does to a child’s peace of mind, sense of self-worth and stability?

I can confirm for you that it is just BAD all around.   And completely unnecessary – – and preventable.

So let’s go back to the initial concept here:  if you are worthy enough to be allowed to parent your child, then say so.  Act like it.  If your child is worthy of having your love, time, nurturing and financial support, then say so.  Act like it.

If you are worthy of being believed and supported, say so.  Then act like it.  Send the right message to your kids by saying, “I am worthy of the best treatment, and therefore so are YOU.”

If the people around you – especially those who are working for YOU and who are hired to help protect your children and your rights – do not say so or if they do not act like they believe this, then why would you keep them around?

Aren’t you and your children worthy of getting what you need?   Please let me know if you still need help getting to that answer by emailing me through MyAdvocateCenter.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Pediatric Cancer: the Wicked Equalizer

How does your mind react when you read, “Counts are coming up”?

When you are missing the right perspective in your life, just go to a fund-raiser for kids with cancer or volunteer to help out a family in need.   Read about what Rally Foundation is doing with kids and athletes, how remarkable St. Baldrick’s Foundation is with their crazy-fun head-shaving events, or find others like them.

Subscribe to a blog about a particular child, and learn more on Caring Bridge. The little boy who taught me and my children about the journey families go through with pediatric cancer was Augustus, better known as Gus, and referred to by many as “Mighty Gus.”

http://augustusthemighty.info/counts-are-coming-up/ This was one of his mother’s blog posts to help us stay connected and aware of what to pray for.

Since I started this post a couple of years ago, Gus took a turn for the worse and his family had to let him go. It was one of the toughest things I’ve experienced, and my experience was only from a distance and over time. He touched our lives and that of many others, and his parents are examples of how to manage under stress and through grief. And then there are the medical bills.

Think about what is really a big deal in your world…and consider that your bad day or month isn’t such a big deal after all, is it?

Of course you know someone who has it worse than you do;  we all do.   But sometimes they fall from your mind or you just think there isn’t much you can do for them that will make a difference?   That isn’t the case when you get involved and start to care about any of the children around us who are struggling for their lives, fighting cancer, hoping for new treatments and for cures.

Planting seeds:

Can you think of one of the worst times in your life?   …I can.  In that moment, I consoled myself by saying, “Well, I’ve never been this scared, or this exhausted…but my CHILD does not have CANCER.   So these things I can handle – they are temporary – and we will recover.”   Yes, I actually said out loud, “My child does not have cancer, and I’m so grateful.”

Then I met Gus.  I learned from his mother and her supporters.   Gus battled cancer.   Gus had a lot of friends who have cancer, and every little bit you can give does make a difference for them.   Each of them is Mighty in his/her own way, and their parents/caregivers will stop you in your tracks, causing you to realize just how strong we are when we have to be for the sake of a child.

This video was produced last year by our friend Conn Jackson & is hosted on 11Alive’s site:
http://midtown.11alive.com/news/people/106787-help-fight-childhood-cancer

Talk:  I didn’t hear about pediatric cancer and THEN think that my life wasn’t so bad.   I knew to contrast these challenges with our own because of spending so much time in pediatric hospitals and in specialists’ offices.  This awareness came from my own experiences in mothering preemie twins, and from doing hospital volunteer work.   But not everyone has reason to come across the reality for these young patients.  It has to be revealed, and then spelled out to the average person who is super busy, dealing with their own challenges, more interested in what they are having for dinner, or cursing the traffic.

Awareness is key, and I’m asking that YOU not rely on others to do the sharing.

Please pick an organization AND a child – learn – and share.  Give, of course, when you can.

St. Baldricks and Rally Foundation are creating many more Heroes in the Fight against Pediatric Cancer, and my son Jack is one of them.  I’m so proud of him for choosing to be an ambassador in this, and his fund-raising page is just one example of how you can help. You will see a photo gallery showing more about his experience, and see that he is having fun while contributing.  You may even note what this has done for his confidence;  he is truly inspired and I believe you will be, too.

The next event we’re involved in is at Meehan’s Public House, Sandy Springs in March of 2015. I’ll update this page before then, or search for it online.

Come on out if you’re in town and join in; it’s a great way to have FUN while you learn and support:

http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/JackBeacham

jack and gus big smile

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you Using your Good Voice?

Were you told when you were young, “You know, you should sing more often…you have a good voice”?

I didn’t say “great voice,” I just said “good.”  But I used it anyway because I enjoyed singing, writing, engaging and uplifting.  Then I stopped.  No need to explain the Pause button; just highlighting the relief that comes from having the rediscovered freedom to express.

Along the way many of us are discouraged from using our voices because we don’t sound like someone else, or another who influences us decides they don’t like the sound of what we have to say; they don’t agree with the effect we have on THEM.  So we hesitate and tell ourselves we are satisfied with our supportive role and allow someone else to do the talking for us.

Rediscovering my voice and finding a way to use it has a lot to do with observing my children.   They need for us to tell them it’s right for them to use their voices.   Say what you feel, share what you believe…see your voice as a valuable resource.  It is there to be used, and it is there not to tear down but to build up.  Use it because you enjoy being vocal and because you want others to enjoy and appreciate along with you.

Use your Good Voice because someone fought for your right to use it.

Above all, make good use of what God gave you, including the freedom we have to speak up.  If you haven’t realized how precious this freedom is, just observe someone who has lived in an oppressive country where the right to speak is limited to agreeing with a dictator or religious extremes, or to another who has been held silent by domestic violence.

When you find your Good Voice again, use it for Change.  Use it for Good.

Deb Beacham

Compassion vs. Practicality

Empathy sometimes misses the point.   And that point is that we all need to evolve, to change for the better.

If you are too empathetic you don’t inspire or motivate the person desiring your empathy to change or find a way to help themselves.

If you lack empathy and rather want to be seen as practical and pragmatic, you can miss opportunities to improve your community and can even do harm.

True compassion is PRO-ACTIVE.  It is forgiving, invites tolerance, but leads with a spark or an intense desire to see someone else’s outcome improve.

The best form of compassion takes that spark and feeds it with some practical measures or steps and actually lends a hand in building something better — something the recipient can work with and carry themselves.

One of the biggest lessons I had to learn was how to NOT do too much too soon for others when I was asked for help.   It took a few too many times to figure out why I was doing that, so yes…painful, but the real challenge was to remain compassionate and open while modifying my reaction.  It led me to a new service offering for parents involved in legal disputes, or what we describe as, “How to Be Your Own Best Advocate.”

Helping others learn how to advocate for themselves is rooted in my many failures, personal ones as well as the gestures made to others.  While it does take more time, patience or flexibility, and often creativity, once you establish this pattern of empowerment and accountability, it will become easier, so think about your world:

~ children and step-children ~ married couples or single friends ~ clients ~

~ facing conflict / abuse, divorce, addiction, money / housing issues ~

We leave our world a better place by empowering others, especially our children, to create solutions and fix things themselves with tools we possibly provide or with tips we reveal.  Then we watch them carry their new and improved self over the finish line.  If you haven’t done this I suggest you try it – it is quite rewarding all around – and it creates confidence while decreasing co-dependency.

So, the next time you are tempted to JUST DO something for someone you feel sorry for, consider taking the extra time, using the extra creative effort and your last ounce of patience, to coach and coax them into figuring out a way to help themselves.   This way compassion doesn’t have to collide or conflict with practicality and PROGRESS.

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

 

Life Starts Here

Thank you for visiting my new blog and for the support you’ve given to encourage me to write.   It is my hope that this becomes more than my journal of adventures and lessons learned but something worth sharing.

Your input matters so please don’t hold back. That is part of the reason for being online and open, so that I continue to improve in my research and writing, and so that our team’s advocacy becomes more effective over time. You are needed, in case you’re wondering!

My goal is to keep it positive and geared toward improving lives, highlighting important truths and solutions that we all need.   So thank you in advance for your support in building this hand-rail guiding us along a better path.

Deb Beacham

 

 

 

Deb Beacham_Advocate for Parents & Children