That’s what we all want as parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches for our kids.
To ask for help early on to troubleshoot any challenges, including emotional burdens.
To use better judgment when choosing which company you keep, where you spend free time and how you treat your family, as a few examples. Each act of wisdom and each show of empathy and kindness may help prevent breakdowns and crimes as revealed in the news story below about a man who could not cope with the consequences of his addiction — set in East Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia.
After studying parent/child relationships for decades, analyzing hundreds of cases involving family conflict, I can say for certain that a parent’s judgment in how he or she guides children to treat other family members has a lot to do with preventing ongoing dysfunction, including addiction, family violence, abuse in relationships, etc.
Several cases in Georgia involve someone taking a life, their own or a family member’s life, committing arson and other crimes, because that person doesn’t have the coping mechanisms needed in relationships and in deciding how to handle uncertainty and disappointment.
A Marietta, Georgia, man turned suicidal, burned down his family home, ran from police and put many other lives at risk.
This story could have turned into a much greater tragedy, but fortunately no lives were lost and the perpetrator of arson and drug use is behind bars.
Below: traumatized father and neighbor talks about the scene. Other neighbors led from smoke-filled, burning homes adjacent to Matt Olson’s unit. We do not yet know the total damages caused by his addiction, suicidal behavior, arson and the police chase.
Photography and video credit: Fox 5 News, Atlanta, Georgia
A bigger voice said, “I wrote this here for you to follow.”
“Will you answer My call?”
There is no greater calling for me than advocating for others and for my children. Sometimes it comes with an uncomfortable price tag and maybe at the expense of some relationships, but it’s a duty that can’t be denied. Not everyone wants this kind of challenge, and that’s ok; God calls us all to serve in different ways.
When I’m asked, which is at least once per week, why I work as much as I do and why I won’t stand down in reporting on critical issues like I did in the Murphy case in Newnan, and on cases in Fulton County involving exploitation and child trafficking, I often reply with one of two answers.
Someone has to. And, I don’t see why I should not…or why I shouldn’t ask you to engage as well. We’re in excellent company on this issue of protecting others, especially our youth and anyone who is vulnerable to exploitation. If you want to learn more about how you can help, how you can serve at the local and state level, please check out the Safe Harbor Bill – on our ballot in Georgia this coming November 8th. I’m voting YES for Safe Harbor and I hope you will, too!
And God did more than just hint at what we’re supposed to do with our time and gifts.
Psalm 82:3-4 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Romans 13:4 “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
Do you know this one?
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Yes, this was the founding principle for investing everything to broadcastPro Advocate Radio beginning in January of 2015, the hashtag we launched #UseYourVoice, and why we are gearing up for another important series after the election! This is when our hardest work begins…after the sensational, divisive news reports and debates die down, when the majority want to detox from discussing “issues” and move on…
When you’re ready, please help me keep the conversation going?
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Bring it…we have the data and the tools needed to make this possible.
Where in Ephesians is this verse found? “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
I haven’t quite figured this one out: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” Proverbs 25:26 …I’d appreciate hearing your interpretation or what this means to you.
Do you have a favorite? Send it to me by private message or email, please!
After November, we have a lot more work to do, and I promise you it will be rewarding if you decide to lend a hand or devote some time.
For this coming month – for the November 8th vote in Georgia – please watch and share:
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.
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. Vote YES on Amendment 2 in Georgia on November 8th, which creates an opportunity to increase support for exploited youth.
When many speak of child advocacy it seems they are counting on only one political party to care or take action. When I’ve spoken about the work I do at My Advocate Center some will even ask, “Why aren’t you a Democrat then?” They seem surprised that I am conservative and that I look toward Republican leadership to make improvements in child and family protections. Over the last few years I’ve explored this question for myself and have found that political views or party affiliation have no place in the minds of the true advocates pushing to rescue children, to intervene in society’s pitfalls and to change policy.
A Georgia businessman I’ve been getting to know when visiting the Capitol and events related to stopping child trafficking has raised the bar in showing how you can make a positive impact while collaborating with people from across every sector and with others who have different perspectives in areas such as faith and politics. For Dave McCleary it’s a simple matter of showing up and using the resources you have available to drive change.
When I saw Dave at a campaign event for Marco Rubio for President, I of course wanted to know what it is about Senator Rubio that has earned Dave’s support for this presidential candidate. As I’m sure you will be, I’m grateful to learn that Rubio has the same fire in his gut for helping our vulnerable citizens, especially exploited children and battered women. Please listen to what Dave has to say about the man, the father and leader Marco Rubio.
Is it good for you to know what’s coming? What you can expect, or better yet, what you can or cannot control? I believe so, and I believe informing families improves stability.
Of course. So that means it is true for your children as well. Most of the concepts I’m exploring here have to do with helping us do better for ourselves but especially for our children. If you are not a parent, but support children or parents in your community, you may learn about concepts or resources that you’ll want to share.
In my own journey I realized there was a lot of information and guidance missing that I needed at a critical time, so I set out to have questions answered and to identify the best resources that others might need as well.
If you would like to contribute to the public education now available through My Advocate Center to help more families avoid the pitfalls seen in our court system, please consider donating here. This method is not yet tax-deductible, so let me know if you prefer to use a method that will allow you to receive the deduction through one of our partner organizations.
What I learned is worth sharing. The issues I address are meant to invite debate about more positive ways to resolve conflict and overcome challenges – or challenging people – with a central focus on the needs of children.
Just knowing the right questions to ask, knowing that accountability is possible, finding honest and trustworthy support…can make all the difference in how we function in life, how we protect our health and finances, and especially around how we care for and nurture our children.
When we are informed and well supported, we can properly set and follow through on expectations. That benefits our children because we all have greater peace of mind. With the right expectations, support, know-how, peace of mind…we can perform better, make better decisions, and ideally deliver what is needed.
So the conversation here is about empowering, creating new solutions and building toward better peace of mind, better health, greater productivity…and, yes, more laughter and joy.
Keeping it simple: when we are at our best, we can serve God, each other and our children better.
Many of my topics come from daily life, as well as from being provoked in social media by friends I agree with and others I don’t. My posts have less to do with what is reported in the news, and more to do with how I see us treating each other – and how that affects our children.
Many of the questions I raise also grow out of my observations of my own children and of other children & families:
When you learn to read the faces of children, you’ll see that they are telling you a lot about yourself.
Just know that if I call you out, I’m calling myself out as well. Being transparent seems to work for me so I’m going with it. None of us are perfect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep learning and striving to do more with what we have, and to help our kids do better than we’ve done in the past.
What you can expect from me is candor, challenge, spirit (sometimes becoming “fight” when called for) and a genuine desire to both learn from my own mistakes and to help others do the same.
This desire gave birth to Connect | Inform | Empower and the warehouse of solutions and resources now called My Advocate Center.
On this blog and on My Advocate Center’s blog you’ll see a broad range of discussions, from children’s interests and parenting issues, including legal advocacy for parents and children, to issues that go to the heart of both social and business relationships. I’ll probably get Global and Political and Spiritual at times – but always practical, always balanced and quick to consider perspectives other than my own.
What I ask of you as a reader is to please consider different sides of issues, and to help me Stand in the Gap that exists around many of the problems we face in this Community of ours. Let’s set a better example: one we want our children to model after and carry forward with our help.
Your constructive feedback is always welcome here, and positive contributions are a great thing!